The Cleveland Browns and the rest of the AFC North had it easy in 2014. The division got to play the NFC South, the worst division in the NFL and a mediocre AFC South. At first glance, the 2015 schedule doesn’t look to be so kind. The Browns will have to play the AFC/NFC West, the New York Jets, and the Tennessee Titans. (Via clevelandbrowns.com) The Jets and Titans will be fair games, chosen by the teams’ 2014 finishes in their respective divisions, but the West opponents will be a challenge.
On paper, this schedule is brutal. The Browns will have to face quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and some of the best defenses in the league. Three of the teams from the AFC West and NFC West have been to at least one Super Bowl in the last three years. It’s very apparent that the Browns will not be able to catch the breaks they did last year against teams like the Bucs and the Falcons. Every week is going to present a strong opponent, and the 2015 Browns will have to be much more disciplined and rely on a strong team effort rather than luck to win games.
Head coach Mike Pettine has warned that the level of opposition will be stronger and that the team needs to solve some issues. The biggest issue is at the quarterback position. Johnny Manziel, after a roller coaster rookie season, has voluntarily entered into a treatment program. The maligned star is expected to be back by training camp, but the Browns aren’t pressuring the Heisman winner, allowing him to come back on his own timetable.
Star wide receiver Josh Gordon will not be part of the equation for 2015 Browns. He has been suspended for the entire year and will most likely be released from the team.
The Browns have issues to deal with at many different positions, and they need to get those settled ASAP because the opponents they have to face will not be easy.