Cleveland haven’t won a game since was December 24th, 2016, when they beat the San Diego Chargers, 20-17, in Cleveland. Ever keen to engage in some sports marketing, Bud Light have given the fans of Cleveland another reason to cheer their Browns to victory. Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, an NFL sponsor explained “Obviously they haven’t won in a while. We’re putting victory fridges out into the marketplace. When the Cleveland Browns win, at the end of the game, these refrigerators … will send a wireless signal that will unlock them and give fans the opportunity to have a celebratory Bud Light.”
So when will Cleveland fans get their hand on free beer? Tyrod Taylor, Carlos Hyde, Jarvis Landry and a host of draft picks give the Browns a serious injection of talent but when will they make their presence felt?
Week 3 – September 20th against the New York Jets
The Jets look to be one of the least talented teams in the NFL and a re-tooled Cleveland team, who will be more competitive then people think, should target this game as their first win. Former Browns running back, Isaiah Crowell, has stood out in camp and may be the focal point of the offense but with their best receiver being former quarterback Terrelle Pryor and no stand out at tight end I give Cleveland to upper hand in this one. It’s likely that the Jets will also be featuring former USC star Sam Darnold. Playing the Jets will guarantee the Browns some time in the national spotlight.
Week 5 October 7th Baltimore Ravens
Last year Joe Flacco looked to be thoroughly in decline and although the team picked up Michael Crabtree in free agency and added a pair of tight ends in Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst. However, I’m not expecting these additions to spark an offense that failed to impress in 2017. Given that, and the improvements Cleveland have made, they have everything they need to defeat the Ravens in Cleveland. Could tight end David Njoku, who shone in the Browns first pre-season game, be a mismatch that makes the difference in this one.
Week 7 – October 21 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
By the time Cleveland face the Buccaneers suspended Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston will be back in action. However with many questioning his leadership as well as his maturity will his return be the boost the teams expects? The Buccaneers are hoping their re-tooled defence can find a way to get to the passer, something they failed to do in 2017. Working against the Browns is the fact their last road win was all the way back on October 11, 2015 but improved quarterback talent (whether it’s still Tyrod Taylor or the Baker Mayfield era has begun) and incoming star Jarvis Landry giving the Browns offense some teeth I wouldn’t be shocked if Cleveland claim this bounty!
Week 12 – November 25th at Cincinnati Bengals
The Browns have to wait until well into the second half of the season to face divisional rivals Cincinnati. After almost moving on from head coach Marvin Lewis at the tailed end of last year they elected to keep Lewis, despite the team’s 7-9 record, he’s likely to be on a short leash this season. If Lewis is gone the Bengals could be a team in disarray by this point.
Week 16 – December 23rd Cincinnati Bengals
This would be a fantastic Christmas present for Cleveland. By this point in the season the Browns will have tape of their first meeting against Cleveland and allow them to scheme appropriately. Despite improvements from John Ross and Joe Mixon in training camp, and a solid draft I’m still dubious about Andy Dalton’s ability to raise the Bengals above mediocrity.
Week 17 – December 30th at Baltimore Ravens
If the Ravens are out of playoff contention by this point it’s probable that the Browns will faced rookie signal caller, Lamar Jackson. Playing in Baltimore will make this a tough win but it’s not out of the realms of possibility, especially if the team are desperate to avoid their second winless season, something no team has suffered the ignominy of.
Looking at the schedule, the Browns will have plenty of opportunities to win in 2018. I can see Browns fans not having to wait for too long to get their hands on the free Bud Light fridges. How does Week 3 against the Jets sound Cleveland?
Although this would obviously be reason celebrate the Browns would get more long term enjoyment from an improved record. If they’re able to win every game I’ve highlighted they’d improve to 6-12. This would be seen as triumph for the Dog Pound.
Picture from Cleveland.com