Oh, what a difference a year makes.
In 2021, the Cleveland Browns opened up against the Kansas City Chiefs with a highly anticipated Week 1 game that was the grudge match from the 2020 divisional playoff.
It was Baker Mayfield against Patrick Mahomes.
We now know who the 2022 Browns will open against.
NFL schedule leak: The #Browns will open up their season on the road vs. the #Panthers, per @josephperson. Still many questions to be answered regarding the QB position for both teams.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) May 12, 2022
It will be none other than the Carolina Panthers who for months have been rumored to be interested in Mayfield.
Could it be a Watson vs. Mayfield matchup?
Could Browns fans see Mayfield in Week 1 with another uniform?
Here is how NFL fans reacted to news of the Browns’ opening game.
A Winnable Week 1 Game
The Browns have not won a season opener since 2004.
Many feel as though the Browns caught a break with what is perceived to be an easier opponent and could come out 1-0 for a nice change of pace at the end of Week 1.
Well if it’s #Browns vs Panthers week 1, Browns actually have a chance to break the losing season opener streak.
— ☮️ 🇺🇦 (@JoeMo11) May 12, 2022
Dr. Chinstrap has a bolder declaration.
“I will eat my #Browns hat live on Facebook if we don’t go 1-0.”
I will eat my #Browns hat live on Facebook if we don’t go 1-0
— Dr. Chinstrap ☢️ #D4L (@ChinstrapD4l) May 12, 2022
Why Another Week 1 Road Game?
While some like the opponent, they object to the third straight year of a road opener.
In 2020, the Browns traveled to Baltimore and last year to Kansas City.
I like the draw, but I don’t like this being the 3rd straight season where the Browns open the season on the road. https://t.co/KRzBIb9d9M
— Watson Garrett Stefanski Era 🐶 (@MylesOffTheEdge) May 12, 2022
The Mayfield Connection
The NFL is a massive marketing machine.
Some wonder if the NFL is expecting the showdown to include Mayfield as a Carolina Panther.
Call me crazy, but this feels like the league thinks Baker will get dealt to Carolina and have an immediate revenge game Week 1. https://t.co/48Hsh86Ifv
— Jarrett Bailey (@JBaileyNFL) May 12, 2022
Could it be as John Ellis eloquently put it, “The Baker Mayfield revenge game”?
Baker Mayfield revenge game?
— Jeff Murray (@jeffmurr) May 12, 2022
We don’t know if Mayfield will end up in Carolina, but it would make for interesting TV in Week 1.
He would be reunited with Rashard Higgins who is also now a Carolina Panther.
The NFL knows how to keep things interesting as do the Browns.
Tune in for the Browns’ complete schedule release at 8:00 PM EDT tonight on NFL Network.
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