Find out how to watch Browns vs. Titans on Sunday, Sept. 8.
After breathing life into Cleveland in an exciting rookie season, Baker Mayfield looks to deliver on the higher expectations set in year two as he leads the Browns into their season opener Sunday versus the Tennessee Titans.
Mayfield more than lived up to the expectations of being the No. 1 overall pick. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner stepped into the lineup in Week 3 when Tyrod Taylor got hurt and led the Browns to a 21–17 victory over the Jets, ending the team's 20-game winless streak that dated back to the 2016 season. Mayfield took off from there, keeping Cleveland in the playoff hunt until the second to last week of the season. He finished with 3,725 passing yards and 27 touchdowns–the latter an NFL single-season record for a rookie.
Cleveland's general manager John Dorsey aggressively built around his new franchise quarterback in the offseason, landing Odell Beckham Jr. in a blockbuster deal with the Giants. One of the elite receivers in the NFL, Beckham had 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six TDs–his fourth 1,000-yard season in five since entering the league–despite missing four games due to injury.
Dorsey also made a controversial move in signing Kareem Hunt, who was cut by the Chiefs late last season for lying about his role in two separate off-field incidents, which contributed to the eight-game suspension he will begin serving with this weekend. Dorsey and Hunt have some history together as the GM selected him in the third round of the 2016 draft while with Kansas City.
The Browns' defense is anchored by 2017 No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett, who made huge strides from his second season and recorded a team-high 13.5 sacks. A second trade with the Giants netted Olivier Vernon, who had seven sacks in 11 games in an injury-plagued 2018. Vernon has 47.5 sacks in 87 games as a starter over the past six seasons, and, if he can stay healthy, will make the Browns an imposing pass rush.
The Tennessee Titans are led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He’s yet to fully deliver on the expectations of being the No. 2 overall pick in 2015. Mariota missed two full games and part of a third with a nerve injury in 2018 and threw for career lows of 2,528 yards and 11 TDs as Tennessee finished 9–7 for the third straight year but missed the playoffs for the second time in that stretch.
Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur left to take over the Packers. The Titans stayed in-house and promoted tight ends coach Arthur Smith to take that role. Smith is Mariota’s fourth offensive coordinator and fifth play-caller with Tennessee, but he's been with the Titans the entire time under previous coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Mularkey and stayed on after Mike Vrabel’s arrival last season.
The Titans have a stout defense that keeps them in most games, led by the talented secondary of Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Adoree’ Jackson, Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro. Their versatile play allows defensive coordinator Dean Pees to line up linebacker Rashaan Evans all over the field, and there are high expectations for the second-year pro to be among the elite at his position.
How to Watch: Titans vs. Browns
Date: Sunday, Sept. 8
Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)