After a seemingly disproportional amount of hype, the NFL has released the 2017 regular season schedule. The Browns are hovering around the middle of the pack (tied for 21st) as far as strength of schedule (.469 opponent win percentage), and the only primetime game they were allotted was the Week 8 matchup against the Vikings in London.
Predicting wins and losses before the draft is absolutely ridiculous, especially considering the impact that the new draft class is expected to have for the Browns. With that said, there is a lot to unpack here. Some initial thoughts on the schedule:
Week 1: Steelers
A home opener against one of the AFC’s best teams is one heck of a way to start off an NFL season for a young Browns team. Even if everything goes right for the Browns in the offseason this game is going to be tough for them to win.
Week 2: at Ravens
Like the Bengals, the Ravens had an off year last year. They still swept the Browns, but with how strong Pittsburgh is Cleveland really need some wins against Baltimore and Cincinnati to start earning some more respect in the AFC North.
Week 3: at Colts
If the Colts have a healthy Andrew Luck under center this is going to be a huge test for this Browns defense. Luck hasn’t built a legacy like Roethlisberger or Rodgers, but his talent on the football field is self-evident.
Week 4: Bengals
Last year was a tough year for Cincinnati and Andy Dalton. The Browns played a mediocre Bengals team tough, but still lost twice. The home field advantage should make this a more level playing field.
Week 5: Jets
Don’t be surprised if this is the first game of the season that the Browns are actually favored to win. A mediocre Jets team coming into Cleveland is an extremely winnable game for a developing Browns team.
Week 6: at Texans
I guess we’ll see how much that offensive line has improved in the offseason.
Week 7: Titans
This is looking like the toughest run defense challenge the Browns will face all year. The draft is going to bring some fresh defensive talent in, and this Titans game is going to give this new defense a chance to prove their toughness.
Week 8: Vikings (London)
The Vikings are one of the biggest wild cards in the NFL. They’ve got a high ceiling and a low floor, and these London games seem to throw everything up in the air a little bit. Should be a very winnable game for the Browns.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 21, 2017
Week 9: Bye
This bye week is in fantastic spot for the Browns. It sits in the heart of the season right after that London matchup and gives the team ample time to recover.
Week 10: at Lions
The Lions should be hovering on the edge of an elite team this year. They succeeded last year largely based off the ability to comeback and win games, and while that’s admirable it isn’t a quality that usually lasts season to season. It depends what kind of Browns team comes into Detroit, but this is a more winnable game than it would initially seem.
Week 11: Jaguars
The Jaguars started looking like a decent team last year after the firing of Gus Bradley, but if you’re the Browns coming off of a one win season, you should be expected to beat the Jaguars in your building.
Week 12: at Bengals
Week 13: at Chargers
If you think the Chargers don’t have a chip on their shoulder for being the one team that lost to the Browns last season, think again. This should be an intense game for both sides.
Week 14: Packers
Yikes. At least it’s not in Lambeau.
Week 15: Ravens
Week 16: at Bears
This is another one of those games that the Browns should be expected to win. Last year this would have been a 50/50 kind of game, but you expect the Browns to be good enough to go win against a rebuilding Chicago team.
Week 17: at Steelers
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