Cleveland Browns schedule opens tough and closes tough

AP Photo/Michael Perez

The NFL has released its 2017 regular-season schedule. Here’s a look at what’s in store for the Cleveland Browns.

Breakdown: Somebody at the Browns made the NFL computers angry. How else to explain an opening game against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, and the annual season-ending torture that is the trip to Pittsburgh. Not only does a 1-15 team open against one of the best teams in the AFC, it follows with trips to Baltimore and Indianapolis and a home game in Week 4 against the Bengals. That's a difficult first month for a team struggling to find any solid ground. The ending isn't much better, as the Browns travel to play the Chargers then face Green Bay and Baltimore at home in December, followed by trips to Chicago and Pittsburgh. The only way to get better is to win these games, but the ask is a lot for a young team in search of itself.

Mind the gap: The Browns will travel to London to play the Vikings in the second of two NFL weekends in England. The game at Twickenham Stadium is the first regular season game for the Browns outside the United States.

Bye bye Thursday: The Browns will not play on Thursday night this season, as the league has determined that not every team has to appear in those games. Every game in the initial schedule is for Sunday. The trip to London in Week 8 gives the Browns a bye the following week. Coaches love that because it means eight games, a week off, and eight more games.

Glass half full: The Browns could look at the opening two weeks as an opportunity. What better statement could a young team make than beating Pittsburgh at home in the opener and Baltimore on the road. Two opening wins would show that the team is growing up and things may not be as dire as they seem. Likely? Not in the least. But the phrase "that's why they play the games" exists for a reason.

Strength of schedule: T-21st, .469

Browns Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 10, Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

  • Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 17, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

  • Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 24, at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

  • Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1, Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8, NY Jets, 1 p.m.

  • Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 15, at Houston, 1 p.m.

  • Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22, Tennessee, 1 p.m.

  • Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 29, Minnesota, 9:30 AM

  • Week 9: BYE

  • Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 12, at Detroit, 1 p.m.

  • Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 19, Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

  • Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 26, at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3, at Los Angeles, 4:05 p.m.

  • Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10, Green Bay, 1 p.m.

  • Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 17, Baltimore, 1 p.m.

  • Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24, at Chicago, 1 p.m.

  • Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 31, at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.