The Cleveland Browns have a lot of preseason buzz associated with their roster.
It is loaded on both sides of the ball and could be the most talented roster the franchise has seen in decades.
There is a lot of talk about the Week 1 game against the defending AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs, but there are teams that are perceived as less tricky to handle than the Chiefs that could give the Browns problems.
Here are three unforeseen teams that could give the Browns some difficulties in 2021.
Ironically, the Browns see these teams in three consecutive weeks, Weeks 9-11.
1. Week 9 @ Cincinnati, November 7, 2021
The Bengals were competitive last year by virtue of adding first overall pick quarterback Joe Burrow to the roster.
By Week 9, Burrow will work out any remaining kinks with his ACL injury, and the Bengals will look to be spoilers to the Browns who will be off to a good start in the first half of the season.
Burrow did not have as much protection as he should have in his rookie season which may have attributed to his injury.
However, the Bengals have upgraded the offensive players surrounding him for 2021 so he will be more dangerous.
Let’s not forget that it took a game-winning catch from Donovan Peoples-Jones for the Browns to beat the Bengals in Cincinnati last season.
Baker Mayfield had a near perfect passer rating (145.8) when targeting Donovan Peoples-Jones last season. He’s essentially free in #FantasyFootball drafts entering his 2nd season. pic.twitter.com/5W358xos6X
— Moody (@EricNMoody) June 12, 2021
2. Week 10 @ New England, November 14, 2021
This one is self-explanatory.
When Bill Belichick is on the opposing team’s sidelines, anything can happen.
Belichick is far removed from his days with the Browns, and he will want to do everything possible to be a spoiler to the Browns 2021 season.
By then, rookie quarterback Mac Jones may be starting which adds another element of uncertainty.
According to reports, Patriots QB Cam Newton left OTA’s with an injured hand today.
Former Alabama QB Mac Jones was put at QB1 to finish out the day.
— Sidelines – Bama (2020 National Champions!) (@SSN_Alabama) June 4, 2021
3. Week 11 vs. Detroit, November 21, 2021
The Browns will have homefield advantage for the first time in weeks, but the Lions are going to be unpredictable in 2021.
To begin with, they have a rookie coach Dan Campbell who employs unusual tactics and language to motivate his players and entertain the media.
Anyone else slightly disturbed Dan Campbell focused his first interview as HC on biting off kneecaps ??? That’s quite the new game plan approach
— Taylor (@blenoretay) January 21, 2021
Then, there is Jared Goff, with a new team, playing in cold November Berea weather.
No one knows what to expect from Goff and the Lions in 2021.
Coming off a tough stretch against Cincinnati and New England, the Lions could see the Browns at just the right time to score a somewhat unexpected victory.
The Browns must defeat plenty of talented teams in 2021 to achieve the lofty postseason goals many have for them.
Baltimore and Pittsburgh are divisional rivals that are always tough games.
Playing Green Bay at Lambeau, with or without Aaron Rodgers, on Christmas is a big challenge.
In addition, the Las Vegas Raiders got a win from the Browns in 2020, a game the Browns should not have lost; this season the Browns host Las Vegas to avenge that loss.
Any given Sunday, a team can pull off a big upset so the key for the Browns is to stay in the moment, week after week, and not look ahead or around too much.