All aboard the Cleveland Browns bandwagon! No, I have not changed allegiances (although Cleveland could be referred to as Green Bay East), but I do have a rooting interest in the Browns, as a good friend of mine is a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan…can you imagine the misery of all that! Last season, I hosted a Browns watch party in Week 3, and we witnessed something that had not happened in 635 days…a WIN! It was an epic Thursday night as Baker Mayfield took over for a concussed Tyrod Taylor and led the Browns to victory. Cleveland was transformed, as some may say, as Mayfield became the team’s starting QB moving forward. With some notable offseason additions, the Browns now have a target on their backs (when is the last time that was said), so here is my educated guess on how things will play out in 2019. Bring on the watch parties!
Week 1 – Tennessee Titans…The Titans are coming off a 9-7 season in which they just missed the playoffs by losing at home in Week 17 vs the Indianapolis Colts…that should never happen and the hangover continues in Week 1 at the Dawg Pound. WIN
Week 2 – at New York Jets (MNF)…The Jets were the opponent when the Browns snapped their 19-game winless streak. New York will be looking for revenge at home and this one will be on MNF, but the Jets now have Adam Gase and his crazy eyes at the helm. WIN
Week 3 – Los Angeles Rams (SNF)…Cleveland faces the Rams at just the right time as Los Angeles will be coming off a big game in Week 2 vs the New Orleans Saints (thanks for this PI fiasco), but the Rams are the defending NFC Champions and playing on SNF will actually benefit them coming from the West Coast. LOSS
Week 4 – at Baltimore Ravens…Joe Flacco is gone to the Denver Broncos, and will Lamar Jackson still be upright in Week 4…this game will be ugly and probably end up in overtime (we are talking about the Browns, remember). Insert Browns kicker misses FG wide left for the win. TIE
Week 5 – at San Francisco 49ers (MNF)…The 49ers were bad last year without Jimmy Garoppolo and this will already be Cleveland’s third primetime game…San Francisco will be coming off an early Week 4 bye and this will be more of an offensive battle than most believe…oh yeah, Jimmy’s ready! LOSS
Week 6 – Seattle Seahawks…The Seahawks will have 10 days to prepare for this game as they host the Rams in Week 5 on TNF…Russell Wilson may not survive that matchup or this one vs the Browns D. WIN
Week 7 – BYE
Week 8 – at New England Patriots…Just when everyone starts to think that Cleveland is a contender in the AFC, they get humbled by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in Foxborough (the Patriots will even be on a short week as they play at the Jets on MNF in Week 7). Gronk is probably out of retirement for this one as well. LOSS
Week 9 – at Denver Broncos…Flacco is 17-3 vs the Browns…make it 18-3. LOSS
Week 10 – Buffalo Bills…The return of Kareem Hunt for Cleveland (gulp)…Josh Allen will be exposed in this one and Cole Beasley is sure to leave this game with a concussion…looking forward to seeing Frank Gore rock that Bills #20 jersey¡ WIN
Week 11 – Pittsburgh Steelers (TNF)…The Browns were made for TNF…or did the league create TNF because of them? Either way, this one is bound to be a slugfest and guaranteed to end in overtime. I hope Cleveland has their kicker situation figured out by this game. WIN
Week 12 – Miami Dolphins…There is no way that Ryan Fitzpatrick (Fitzmagic) is still starting in Week 12…right?! That leaves Josh Rosen…poor Josh Rosen…this one is going to be ugly! WIN
Week 13 – at Pittsburgh Steelers…We’re on to Cincinnati. LOSS
Week 14 – Cincinnati Bengals…Dalton, Andy. WIN
Week 15 – at Arizona Cardinals…The Cardinals were brutal last year (but got Puddy fired) and they will be brutal this year…Kliff Kingsbury is their new head coach…he went 35-40 at Texas Tech…by Week 15, Kyler Murray will wish he had stuck with baseball. WIN
Week 16 – Baltimore Ravens…Remember that Week 4 tie…well, this one comes down to the kicker again…insert Browns kicker slides the game winning FG just inside the left upright for the win (oh, the humanity). WIN
Week 17 – at Cincinnati Bengals…See Week 14. WIN
Final Record: 10-5-1, 1st in AFC North.
My Green Bay Packers welcome the Matt LaFleur era to 1265 Lombardi Avenue. MLF becomes the 15th head coach of the Packers and now has the task of leading Green Bay back to the Super Bowl. In 2018, the Packers suffered back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1990-91 (and missed the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2005-06). A healthy Aaron Rodgers (currently dealing with back issues) will again determine how Green Bay fares this season. Will the Packers finally have an offense that doesn’t rely heavily upon Rodgers scrambling, will the defense finally step up and take some pressure off the offense, and will the special teams unit finally be held accountable for all their mistakes? Puddy is gone, and Green Bay is ready to win (some have said), but have the Packers wasted too many seasons of another future HOF QB. Let’s take a look.
Week 1 – at Chicago Bears (TNF)…The kickoff to the 100th season of the NFL (#thisleague). The Bears were 12-4 last season, and history says they will have a drop off this year. Khalil Mack and the D (minus HHCD) are one of the best in the business. Can Mitchell Trubisky manage this one enough so that it doesn’t come down to the Bears kicker (double doink)? LOSS
Week 2 – Minnesota Vikings…This game last year was marred by a ridiculous Clay Matthews roughing the passer call. This year’s edition will end in a controversial pass interference call against the Packers secondary…and #thisleague will change the PI rule following the outcome of this game. LOSS
Week 3 – Denver Broncos…Denver has been looking for a QB since Peyton Manning retired. Flacco is not the answer (especially when he is not playing against Cleveland). WIN
Week 4 – Philadelphia Eagles (TNF)…Keeping Carson Wentz healthy will be the key to the Eagles success this season…Big Dick Nick (Foles) is no longer around to bail Philly out. This one is bound to be another classic TNF shootout. LOSS
Week 5 – at Dallas Cowboys…The last two times the Packers played at AT&T Stadium, they came away with epic, come from behind wins…and that was with Puddy! Ezekiel Elliott (Zeke who?) is currently holding out, Dak Prescott wants a contract extension for $40 million a year, and Jason Garrett is still the Cowboys HC. WIN
Week 6 – Detroit Lions (MNF)…Remember when Green Bay owned Detroit…especially at Lambeau Field. It’s time for that to start back up again. WIN
Week 7 – Oakland Raiders…Will Antonio Brown find a helmet by this game? I will be attending this game and the Packers never lose regular season games when I attend. WIN
Week 8 – at Kansas City Chiefs (SNF)…Can Patrick Mahomes put together another MVP season and can Tyreek Hill keep his hands to himself all season? The Packers have struggled at Arrowhead Stadium…winning there only twice in franchise history. LOSS
Week 9 – at Los Angeles Chargers…Both teams will be coming off tough road games in Week 8 (Chargers at Chicago)…usually advantage home team, but there will be a lot of Green Bay fans at 27,000 seat Dignity Health Sports Park. LA is going to miss Derwin James this year and they better pay Melvin Gordon III if they want to win this one. LOSS
Week 10 – Carolina Panthers…The Panthers finished 1-7 during the second half of the season last year as Cam Newton’s shoulder was completely wrecked (again). Riverboat Ron (Rivera) will likely take a chance in this one…only to cost his team the game. WIN
Week 11 – BYE
Week 12 – at San Francisco 49ers…If Puddy can go 9-4 (including Ty Montgomery’s mishap last year) following the bye week, MLF can win this one with an extra week to prepare. WIN
Week 13 – at New York Giants…Whether it’s Eli Manning or Daniel Jones…it won’t matter. WIN
Week 14 – Washington Redskins…Adrian Peterson is not going to rush for 120 yards and two touchdowns in this one (especially if Trent Williams is still holding out). By Week 14, who knows which QB (Case Keenum, Colt McCoy, or Dwayne Haskins) will be under center. WIN
Week 15 – Chicago Bears…The Bears will go through more kickers than the Browns this season…and it’s going to hurt them in this one (double doink). WIN
Week 16 – at Minnesota Vikings (MNF)…Still stinging from that Week 2 loss at Lambeau, the Packers secondary plays overly aggressive and it burns them again…as Adam Thielen has a field day. LOSS
Week 17 – at Detroit Lions…Green Bay will need this win to make the playoffs and Detroit will be staring another 6-10 season in the face. Rodgers won’t let the Packers stay home for a third straight postseason. WIN
Final Record: 10-6, (tie) 1st in NFC North.
Super Bowl LIV (Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL): New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams. Everyone loves a rematch, right?! Well, how about three rematches! The Patriots and Rams will meet again in the big game after New England knocks off Kansas City and Los Angeles holds off New Orleans in the AFC and NFC Championships for the second straight year (with games in NE and LA). The Super Bowl rematch is much closer this time and comes down to a kicker. Stephen Gostkowski hits the game winner as time expires and Belichick and Brady get their 7th Super Bowl rings…and both finally retire (along with Gronk again) following the game…the entire league rejoices! Patriots 24, Rams 21.