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Cleveland Browns' schedule 2020: Chance to make early statement

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The Browns' biggest can't-miss game on the 2020 schedule (1:12)

Jake Trotter points to an Odell Beckham Jr. revenge game against the Giants as the Browns' most intriguing matchup. (1:12)

The Cleveland Browns' schedule for 2020 was released Thursday. Cleveland has the fourth-easiest strength of schedule based on its opponents' records from 2019 (.461).

The regular season kicks off with the Houston Texans visiting the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, Sept. 10 (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). The opening doubleheader for Monday Night Football will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants (7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN) and the Tennessee Titans at the Denver Broncos (10:20 p.m. ET) on Monday, Sept. 14.

Check out the full week-by-week schedule here. Here’s what's in store for the Browns:

Game-by-game prediction

Browns reporter Jake Trotter is predicting a 9-7 finish:

Sept. 13: at Ravens, Loss

Sept. 17: vs. Bengals, Win

Sept. 27: vs. Redskins, Win

Oct. 4: at Cowboys, Loss

Oct. 11: vs. Colts, Loss

Oct. 18: at Steelers, Loss

Oct. 25: at Bengals, Win

Nov. 1: vs. Raiders, Win

Nov. 8: BYE

Nov. 15: vs. Texans, Win

Nov. 22: vs. Eagles, Loss

Nov. 29: at Jaguars, Win

Dec. 6: at Titans, Loss

Dec. 14: vs. Ravens, Loss

Dec. 20: at Giants, Win

Dec. 26 or 27: at Jets, Win

Jan. 3: vs. Steelers, Win

Strength of schedule: 29th, .461

Breakdown

The Browns now know the path to ending the NFL's longest playoff drought, now up to 18 years. And they'll have an opportunity for a Week 1 statement at defending AFC North champion Baltimore. The defining stretch, however, figures to come late, when Cleveland will host the Ravens on Monday Night Football in between three December road trips -- including back-to-back weeks in New York -- followed by a potential make-or-break home bout against the hated Steelers.

Spotlight on Baker

The pressure is already on Baker Mayfield going into a pivotal third season that is likely to determine whether he's the franchise quarterback Cleveland has longed for. That pressure will be amplified in a series of showdowns against noteworthy counterparts, including reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and Sam Darnold (both from his 2018 draft class); Joe Burrow (who also went first overall); Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and even, that's right, Daniel Jones.

Odell back in NYC

Odell Beckham Jr. played in New York last year, but that was against the Jets. This time, he'll also be facing his old team, who jettisoned him to Cleveland last offseason, even after Giants GM Dave Gettleman said "We didn't sign (OBJ) to trade him." That double talk prompted Beckham to call the move "personal" and to say "they thought they'd send me (to Cleveland) to die." All eyes will be on this holiday reunion.