Who Are The Cleveland Browns' Biggest Rivals?

Who Are the Cleveland Browns Biggest Rivals

The Cleveland Browns are a National Football League (NFL) franchise that has been around since 1946. As is the case with all NFL teams, the Browns have developed some fairly intense rivalry matchups over the years. Throughout the league, these matchups are created by geography as well as the divisional structure, where teams play the other teams in their division twice a year. 

For Cleveland, they play in the AFC North, and their rivalries come from that competitive division. While they have played some of these opponents more than others, all of the rivalries are intense and entertaining to watch. Here are the biggest rivals of the Cleveland Browns.

Cincinnati Bengals

The first rival for the Cleveland Browns is the Cincinnati Bengals, their in-state rival from the other side of Ohio. The game is appropriately often referred to as the “Battle of Ohio.” The two first met in 1970, two years after the Bengals came into existence. It was the Browns who were victorious on that day by a final score of 30-27. In all, the two have met 99 times in their history, and the Bengals hold the edge in the series with 52 wins to the Browns 47 wins as of 2023. Unfortunately, since neither franchise has had a long stretch of postseason success, the two Ohio teams have yet to meet in the playoffs.

Recently, the Browns have really been dominating Cincinnati, winning eight of the last 10 matchups, although the Bengals did win the most recent game. Hopefully for the state of Ohio, someday soon there will be a playoff matchup between the two teams.

Baltimore Ravens

After the Bengals, the next divisional rival for the Browns is the Baltimore Ravens. The two have only been in the same division since 1999, so they have not played as much as some of the other rivals on this list. After losing their first four matchups with the Ravens, Cleveland finally got their first win over the Ravens in 2001. Unfortunately for Cleveland and their fans, this rate of winning against the Ravens has not improved much over the years. Overall, the Browns and Ravens have met 48 times as of 2023, and Baltimore has come away victorious 35 times, with Cleveland winning just 13 matchups. At one point from 2008 to 2013, the Ravens defeated Cleveland 11 times in a row. Like Cincinnati and the Browns, the two have yet to meet up for a postseason game. Despite the Ravens domination, the Browns have won two of the last three meetings, so their fans are certainly hoping that is a trend that will continue in the years to come.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The final rival for the Cleveland Browns is also their most popular opponent over the years: the Pittsburgh Steelers. The two have met an incredible 143 times as of 2023, including three postseason meetings. The first of those came way back in 1950, with the Browns coming away victorious 30-17. This started an early trend between the two, with Cleveland winning the first eight meetings between the two, 12 of the first 13, and 16 of the first 18. After that, the series was fairly even for a long time, with the Steelers making up ground here and there in the overall record between the two. Since 2000, however, it has been all Pittsburgh. From 2000-2012, the Steelers won 23 of the 27 meetings between the two, including 12 in a row at one point. As of 2023, the Steelers lead the series between the teams with 80 wins compared to 62 wins for Cleveland, along with one tie in 2018. 

Along with all of their great regular season matchups, the two have played three times in the playoffs. The first of those came in the Divisional Round in 1995, which the Steelers won easily 29-9. Eight years later, they met up again in the Wild Card Round, and Pittsburgh once again won, this time 36-33. In their most recent postseason meeting in the 2021 Wild Card Round, the Browns were able to get some revenge, coming away with a 48-37 victory. When it comes to Browns fans, they certainly hope they will have more postseason success, against the Steelers and others, in the future. 


Who is the biggest rival of the Cleveland Browns?

Although the Steelers are the Cleveland Browns’ most common opponent over the years, when factoring in the in-state rival aspect, their biggest rival has to be the Cincinnati Bengals. Known as the “Battle for Ohio”, the two have an intense battle for in-state supremacy. As of 2023, the Bengals have a slight edge in the series with 52 wins compared to 47 Browns wins.