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Early Analysis of the 2008 Schedule

Big Dawg Back in 2008

At first glance, two things come to mind immediately about the Cleveland Browns 2008 schedule:
Wow, this schedule is difficult.  The Browns open against the Dallas Cowboys (fortunately at home) before playing their three interdivisional foes: home against Pittsburgh, then onto Baltimore followed by a visit to Cincinnati.  They do get to catch their breathe after the Cincinnati game with a bye the first weekend in October and they will need it because they return October 13th against the World Champion New York Giants.  We will know just how good this Browns team is by mid October.  Let’s say after October 13th, they are 5-0 or 4-1 (unlikely), they would probably be in the drivers seat for home field advantage in the AFC.  Should they emerge at 3-2 or 2-3, I would still expect them to be a playoff team.  If they follow the pattern from recent years (prior to 2007) of 1-4 or 0-5 (also unlikely), my guess is the playoffs would be out of the question and we may even be talking about a new coach and Quinn under center for the remainder of the season.

The 2008 Browns will need to be at the top of their game week-in and week-out.  The schedule won’t allow the Browns to take weeks off like they did last year against Oakland and Arizona.  They finish the first half of the season with games at Washington who always seems to be competitive, and then onto Jacksonville who if you remember, ousted the Steelers from the playoffs last year in Pittsburgh.

The second half of the season is slightly easier, with Denver, Buffalo and Houston in back to back weeks.  Each of those games is winnable, especially since they get Denver and Houston at home.

To finish the season, Christmas is sandwiched between Cincinnati at home and the season finale at Pittsburgh on December 28th.

Wow, since when did the Browns become the media darlings of the NFL.  Five games on primetime television:
o    September 14, Pittsburgh on NBC’s Sunday Night Football
o    October 13, New York Giants on ESPN’s Monday Night Football
o    November 6, Denver Broncos on NFL Network’s season premier of Thursday Night Football
o    November 17, at Buffalo on ESPN’s Monday Night Football (yes, you read that correctly, back to back primetime games)
o    December 15, at Philadelphia on ESPN’s Monday Night Football

It also appears, that they will have at least two, possibly three more nationally televised games that are slotted at 4:15 PM (Dallas, at Baltimore and at Washington) which is typically reserved for a national televised audience.

Given this schedule I’m not sure I see more than 10 possibly 11 wins.  I think that will be strong enough to win the AFC North, but whether that will get the Browns a 1st round bye in the playoffs remains to be seen.  Although, let’s not get ahead of ourselves; winning the division for the first time since 1989 would send most Northeast Ohio Steeler fans back into the woodwork for another 30 years which is enough to satisfy any Browns fan.

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3 Responses to “Early Analysis of the 2008 Schedule”

  1. The Browns are headed in the right direction, but I think 10 or 11 wins is out of the question. You see it every year: the media falls in love with an “up-and-coming” team. Said team gets a glut of primetime games, but then the emotional toll of those high adrenaline games and the awkward travel schedule eventually takes it toll. Haven’t you noticed that MNF games suck after Week 5 every year?

  2. Russ Loede says:

    Mr. Kevin Folger,
    You are right on target with the schedule being difficult… So I expect Cleveland to finish at or below .500

    On the Road against Tennessee, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh are going to be extremely tough games to win. Figuring all four of these teams are balanced with the rushing attack and they have stellar defenses for the most part.

    @ Washington & Buffalo will be tough, but winnable contests.

    Houston/Denver are no pushovers. Houston keeps improving and their D is finally good. All they need is a legit RB now. Denver wants to rebound and they haven’t made the Playoffs the past two seasons.

    Not to mention Dallas at home to kickoff ’08, along with the Manning Bros – your team has themselves one of the toughest schedules in the NFL besides Pittsburgh. As you already know the Giants are SB Champions and the Colts are going to be a tough play because they got an elite offense and were knocked out early vs the Bolts of San Diego, so they are going to be extra focused/determined to maintain their fire, intensity, and motivation.

    Plus, you have always rough divisional games against Cincy/Balt – with the road battles being a challenge/test for Cleveland, as we saw in ’07.

    By the way, GREAT Writing!

    It’s good to see you on board with the NFL Gridiron Gab Family! I’ll look forward to reading your articles/posts each & every week.

    PS – I Just don’t think your squad is good enough to win 9 or 10 games with this schedule. Reasons: 1. Always hard to repeat a successful season unless you are the Pats, Colts, or Chargers. 2. Bulls eye now that your team is better. 3. Defense is shaky and the nite games and different time slots will play its part and toll during the 2008 season.

    It’s always hard to predict what’s going to happen… So who knows the outcome/# wins the team will have, but this we both know – Regardless of how this season turns out, it is going to be one tough schedule – that we do know! But plenty of opportunites for your team to earn/gain respect that may deserve (too Early) and show the football world in the national spotlight they are a true, legitimate playoff contender.

  3. Albert says:

    I like it and the background and colors make it easy to reado

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