2014 Cleveland Browns Opponents and Schedule Highlights
by George Monroy - 4/3/2014
The Cleveland Browns spent the first part of the offseason looking for a head coach, and if the rumors are true, they almost landed San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh in the process. Cleveland eventually hired former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine after being the final team in the NFL without a coach. The hiring may not have been the high-profile decision that many fans were hoping for, but Cleveland does bring in a solid coach with a decent track record to the fold.
The Browns are also sitting on the fourth pick in the NFL Draft after ending last season with a 4-12 overall and 1-7 road record. The team's draft position is a typical Cleveland situation as the only players it truly wants are all likely to end up in the top three. There is even talk that the Browns might trade down and get more value for their pick. Either way, Cleveland is hoping to improve a few games on last year's four-win season. Let's take a closer look at the team's schedule of opponents for 2014 with trends, predictions and analysis.
2014 Cleveland Browns Opponents: Home Schedule
Baltimore Ravens: Cleveland hosted the Ravens during Week 9 and was able to get a six-point win in the process. The Browns were a one-point home underdog during the game, and the victory ended up being the team's last win of the season. Cleveland went on to lose seven straight games.
Cincinnati Bengals: The Browns were a three-point underdog heading into their Week 4 matchup against the Bengals, and they ended up walking way from the game with a nine-point victory. Cleveland had a solid pass defense all year and was ranked eight in the league.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Cleveland did not host the Steelers until Week 12 of the 2013 season and was already in the middle of its seven-game losing streak to close out the year. The Browns have lost five of the last six games in this matchup, with their last win coming at home during the second half of the 2012 season.
Houston Texans: Houston lost two games to the Jaguars last season, and Jacksonville had a horrible 4-12 record of their own. If the team does not improve next year, Cleveland has a very winnable home matchup here. The Texans, however, have the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and will probably add Jadeveon Clowney to its already solid defense.
Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck started his NFL career by producing two straight 11-5 seasons and could have an even better record next season. A matchup against Indianapolis, even if it is at home, will be difficult for the Browns to win next season. The squad had a 3-5 home SU and ATS record last year.
Oakland Raiders: Oakland managed to win only one road game all last season, and it happened to be against Houston. The team, however, did end with a 4-3-1 road ATS record, so Oakland might be worth a bet whenever these two teams match up next year.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints won three road games last year, against Tampa Bay, Chicago and Atlanta-all teams with a .500 or worse record. Cleveland had one of the best passing defenses in the league last season and allowed the eighth-fewest passing yards at 221.1 per game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay might be in for another long season. The team recently signed Josh McCown, who turns 35 in July, to be its starting quarterback, and even though Coach Lovie Smith is optimistic, things might not turn out the way he expects. This matchup is a winnable game for the Browns.
2014 Cleveland Browns Opponents: Road Schedule
At Baltimore Ravens: Cleveland lost its road matchup against the Ravens during Week 2 of last season, but it managed to stay competitive in a 14-6 game. The Browns did not cover the spread and would eventually split both the SU and ATS series 1-1.
At Cincinnati Bengals: Jason Campbell threw for 248 yards in Cleveland's 21-point road loss to the Bengals during Week 11 of action. The Browns were a four-point dog and were coming off consecutive ATS covers, but they ended up finishing the year with a 1-6 ATS record.
At Pittsburgh Steelers: Cleveland closed out the year with a 13-point loss against the Steelers as a 9.5-point underdog during this matchup. The Steelers might not do much during free agency since they do not have much cap space. However, regardless of how much the team improves, Cleveland will have trouble winning this road matchup.
At Jacksonville Jaguars: The Browns lost by five points during a Week 13 home matchup against the Jaguars. Brandon Weeden had his best performance of the year, throwing for 370 yards and leading the team to four touchdowns. A road matchup against a bad Jaguars team will be winnable next season.
At Tennessee Titans: The Titans had a decent pass defense last year and were ranked 11th in the league, allowing 225.8 passing yards per game. The squad was 1-6-1 ATS at home and 6-8-2 ATS overall. Tennessee has also been quiet on the free agency market and might field another 7-9 type of team next year.
At Buffalo Bills: Buffalo ended the year 4-4 at home, but it could not put together consecutive wins until Weeks 15 and 16 of the season. The squad was the second-ranked rushing team in the league, averaging 144.2 yards per game, and had the fourth-ranked passing defense as well. This could be a difficult road matchup for the Browns.
At Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta still has some very good players on its team, including both a coach and starting quarterback with playoff experience-it will be tough for the team not to improve. Cleveland, on the other hand, is always recycling through its roster and will have a tough time in this matchup. Atlanta might even receive some extra value in this game by being a small favorite.
At Carolina Panthers: The team's toughest road matchup this season will probably be against the Panthers. Carolina is expected to be a playoff contender and to still be very good even though the team released its emotional leader Steve Smith during the offseason. Getting a win here will be difficult for the Browns.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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