By: Luke Wondolowski
Ladies and gentlemen, the fun is about to begin in Cleveland. The moment Browns fans have been look forward to since February is here and the NFL regular season is about to kickoff. The Browns begin their most anticipated season in decades with a game against the Titians at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Browns only have one player, Sione Takitaki, listed on their injury report, while Tennessee has three players. Takitaki is dealing with a hamstring injury, but is listed as questionable at the moment. Another person people are looking at is Odell Beckham Jr. who reveals this week that he’s still dealing with that hip injury from training camp. That said, Freddie Kitchens was adamant that he’s good to go today.
By the numbers: 1-18-1. That is the Browns season opener record since returning to Cleveland in 1999 after the team was taken away from us. And that one win, it came 15 years ago in 2004 when they beat the Baltimore Ravens 20-3. For what it’s worth though, the last time the Browns won their home opener was in 2015 against, ironically, the Titans. It was a 28-14 win that year in Week Two.
Here are some things that you should watch for during the game:
1) Offense fills the stands.
The Browns offense on paper looks amazing, everyone knows that. From Baker Mayfield leading the offense for (hopefully) his first full season as starting QB. He looks to keep things rolling heading into year two. He will be getting a lot of help from weapons like Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr,, Rashard Higgins, David Njoku, and Nick Chubb. The question is this: will the Browns embarrassment of riches will cause a problem internally?
2) Defense wins championships
The Browns defense also looks pretty scary in its own right. With a very scary front seven including Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson, Olivier Vernon, and others, that group should strike some fear in opposing offensive lines each and every week. To compliment that great pass rush the Browns have some ball hawks on the back end too with Denzel Ward, Damarious Randall and rookie Greedy Williams. Together those two units could create a ton of turnover this year.
3) Freddie’s New Kitchen
There will be lots of people watching first year head coach Freddie Kitchens today as he makes his head coaching debut. To this point he’s said and done all the right things but how he gets his team to perform on gameday is a whole different ballgame. We’ll find out today if everyone is truly buying in to his message.
Where to watch: You can catch the Browns on Channel 19 for the 1 o’clock start time or you can tune into 92.3 FM The Fan to listen to the game.