Cleveland Browns schedule and 2021 season predictions

Are the Cleveland Browns pretenders or contenders? Now that their 2021 schedule is out, let's go through each game and see how they're likely to fare.

Cleveland Browns schedule this week

Week 3 – vs. Chicago Bears

  • Point spread: Browns -7.5
  • Moneyline: Bears +275; Browns -350
  • Over/under: 45.0
  • Sportsnaut prediction: Browns 26, Bears 13
DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Sept. 261:00 PMFOX

Justin Fields finally gets to make the first start of his NFL career. It’s an exciting moment, but going against a tough Browns defense at the Dawg Pound is not an easy draw. Baker Mayfield has been solid through two games and gets star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. back into the lineup. While Fields offers potential, he’s likely not ready to keep up with this Browns team.

Cleveland Browns schedule predictions, roster outlook

  • The Browns lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 of the NFL season.
  • Their Week 13 bye is set between difficult matchups against the Baltimore Ravens (Nov. 28 and Dec. 12).
  • Sportsnaut originally predicted the Browns will end the season with an impressive 13-4 record.

Cleveland Browns roster outlook

Cleveland Browns schedule and 2021 predictions
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

All our predictions are based on the Browns keeping and starting these key players:

Cleveland Browns schedule predictions

Week 1 — Cleveland Browns lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on the road, 33-29

  • When: Sunday, September 12 at 4:25 PM on CBS
  • Spread: Chiefs -5.5
  • Moneyline: Browns +220; Chiefs -275
  • Over/Under: 54.5
  • Sportsnaut prediction: Chiefs 31, Browns 27

Cleveland held a 12-point halftime lead against the two-time defending AFC champions on the road Sunday. Unfortunately, it just could contain the pairing of Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill in the second half. Couple that with a late interception from Baker Mayfield with the game on the line, and the upstart Browns failed to make a major statement in their season opener.

Week 2 – Cleveland Browns won 31-21 vs. Houston Texans

  • When: Sunday, Sept. 19 @ 1:00 PM on CBS
  • Spread: Browns -12.5
  • Moneyline: Texans +450; Browns -650
  • Over/Under: 48.0
  • Sportsnaut prediction: Browns 31, Texans 13

Despite fielding arguably the worst roster in all of football, Houston is proving to be far friskier than anyone could’ve reasonably expected before the season. In the end, though, the Browns’ far superior talent and an injury to Texans starting QB Tyrod Taylor helped Cleveland improve to 1-1 on the year.

Cleveland Browns schedule and 2021 predictions
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 – @ Minnesota Vikings

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Oct. 31:00 PMCBS

There’s a huge familiarity factor here. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski spent his entire career in Minnesota before becoming the reigning NFL Coach of the Year. The edge goes to Cleveland, though, due to vastly superior talent on defense and Mayfield being more of an off-schedule playmaking threat than Kirk Cousins.

  • Week 4 prediction: Browns 30, Vikings 17

Week 5 – @ Los Angeles Chargers

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Oct. 104:05 PMCBS

Because the Chargers have a new wizard of a defensive coach in Brandon Staley, he should have some tough wrinkles to throw at Browns QB Baker Mayfield. Having an edge at the most important position on the field with Justin Herbert gives Los Angeles the edge here in what should be a phenomenal matchup.

  • Week 5 prediction: Chargers 34, Browns 28

Week 6 – vs. Arizona Cardinals

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Oct. 174:05 PMFOX

A fascinating matchup, because Arizona has a loaded front seven headlined by Chandler Jones, J.J. Watt, Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins. The Cardinals should be able to throw some exotic looks at Cleveland, but the Browns will ultimately prevail to maintain a perfect home record.

  • Week 6 prediction: Browns 29, Cardinals 27

Week 7 – vs. Denver Broncos (TNF)

DateTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Oct. 218:20 PMFOX/NFLN

The quarterback situation in Denver is anywhere from unsettled to unspectacular. Vic Fangio can coach up that defense all he wants, but unless Pat Shurmur suddenly becomes a genius offensive coordinator — he won’t — the Broncos’ young skill position talent will go to waste in 2021. That spells another Browns victory.

  • Week 7 prediction: Browns 24, Broncos 16

Week 8 – vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Oct. 311:00 PMCBS

Pittsburgh’s offensive line just isn’t good enough to hold up against the Browns’ revamped front seven. They also now have the players to match up with the Steelers’ excellent young cast of pass-catchers. Cleveland safety John Johnson III is going to play a huge role in the secondary’s improvement, and could grab an interception in this one.

  • Week 8 prediction: Browns 29, Steelers 20
Cleveland Browns schedule and 2021 predictions
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Week 9 – @ Cincinnati Bengals

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Nov. 71:00 PMCBS

Joe Burrow‘s offensive line isn’t good enough to handle Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. Cincinnati’s promising receiving corps will have trouble against Cleveland’s upgraded secondary. Oh, and the Bengals can’t stop a nosebleed on defense, because their front seven is awful.

  • Week 9 prediction: Browns 38, Bengals 20

Week 10 – @ New England Patriots

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Nov. 141:00 PMCBS

These aren’t the typical powerhouse Patriots we used to see under Tom Brady. Even though Mac Jones was undeniably impressive and beat out Cam Newton for New England’s starting QB gig, the Browns still have a far superior all-around offense, with enough defensive firepower to overwhelm Jones — even in Foxborough.

  • Week 10 prediction: Browns 23, Patriots 17

See how high the Browns rate in our latest NFL power rankings

Week 11 – vs. Detroit Lions

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Nov. 211:00 PMFOX

Detroit has a mammoth undertaking as it tries to rebuild its roster. In the meantime, Jared Goff is at the controls of the offense, and he had maybe the most ideal circumstances under which to succeed in 2020 and was awful. He’ll be in serious trouble against Cleveland’s D.

  • Week 11 prediction: Browns 37, Lions 9
Dec 14, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) runs with the ball as Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen (48) defends during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12 – @ Baltimore Ravens (SNF)

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Nov. 288:20 PMNBC

The Cleveland Browns schedule takes them to Baltimore in Week 12. It was a shootout the last time these two teams met, and Cleveland got a lot better defensively since then. However, Lamar Jackson is still a game-breaker thanks to his amazing speed, and he has a superior cast of receivers to throw to in 2021, led by first-round pick Rashod Bateman. That should help Baltimore eke out a home win.

  • Week 12 prediction: Ravens 35, Browns 31

Week 13 – BYE

Week 14 – vs. Baltimore Ravens

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Dec. 121:00 PMCBS

Something about home cooking and the fact that the Ravens beat the Browns in their house toward the end of the 2020 season in an absolute thriller should give Cleveland a sort of vengeance X-factor here. Look for the Browns to put together perhaps their most complete defensive performance of the year in this one.

  • Week 14 prediction: Browns 31, Ravens 13

Week 15 – vs. Las Vegas Raiders

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Dec. 19TBDTBD

Jon Gruden is a great offensive coach, and Derek Carr can light up the scoreboard. The problem is, Las Vegas can’t stop anyone, and continues to whiff on defensive player acquisitions. That’ll continue to cost the Raiders against the AFC West and other quality teams like the Browns.

  • Week 15 prediction: Browns 41, Raiders 28

Week 16 – @ Green Bay Packers

DateTime (ET)TV
Saturday, Dec. 254:30 PMFOX, NFLN

Aaron Rodgers‘ return as the Packers’ signal-caller spells bad news for the visitors in this one. Rodgers is the type of transcendent thrower who can pick apart any defense. He should do just enough in the friendly confines of Lambeau Field to help Green Bay escape with a clutch “W” over Cleveland.

  • Week 16 prediction: Packers 28, Browns 27
Cleveland Browns schedule and 2021 predictions
Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor (76) blocks at the line of scrimmage against Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Browns won 48-37. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Week 17 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers (MNF)

DateTime (ET)TV
Monday, Jan. 38:15 PMESPN

The Steelers bizarrely opted not to address their offensive line in the draft or in free agency in any adequate fashion. As a result, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be a sitting duck. The rushing attack will continue to flail despite Najee Harris’ arrival. Even Pittsburgh’s mighty defense won’t be enough to keep the team in games consistently.

  • Week 17 prediction: Browns 27, Steelers 14

Can the Browns win the Super Bowl? Find out how deep they go in our NFL playoff predictions

Week 18 – vs. Cincinnati Bengals

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, Jan. 91:00 PMCBS

The Cleveland Browns schedule ends with a matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. And if you look at any position group on the two rosters, the Browns are superior in every single area. That’s usually not a recipe for success for the team on the wrong end of that heads-up comparison.

  • Week 18 prediction: Browns 45, Bengals 21

Cleveland Browns record prediction: 13-4

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