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Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Cleveland Browns schedule analysis

By Jamison Hensley

Breakdown: The Cleveland Browns knew it wasn't going to be easy. Cleveland has the third-toughest strength of schedule and the hardest for non-playoff teams.

The good news for the Browns is they open at home, playing host to the Philadelphia Eagles. The bad news is what follows. Cleveland plays three of the next four games on the road and all come against teams that made the playoffs last season (Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens and the Super Bowl champion New York Giants).

If the Browns can survive that tough stretch, they catch a break by playing three of four games at home before entering their bye. But their softest part of the schedule comes at the start of December, when the Browns play at Oakland and at home against Kansas City. The Browns get a first-hand look at what they missed out on when Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins come to Cleveland Browns Stadium on Dec. 16.

Complaint department: The NFL schedule makers didn't do the Browns any favors to end the season. Cleveland finishes the regular season at Denver and at Pittsburgh. That's consecutive road games against Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Cleveland is a combined 1-19 against them.

Not prime-time players: Luckily for the Browns, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell guaranteed one national television game for each team this season. If not, the Browns might not have received any prime-time exposure. Cleveland's only time on national television is a Thursday night game at Baltimore on Sept. 27. The Browns know they have to earn more prime-time games.

Browns Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, Philadelphia, 1:00 PM
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, at Cincinnati, 1:00 PM
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, Buffalo, 1:00 PM
Week 4: Thursday, Sept. 27 at Baltimore, 8:20 PM
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, at NY Giants, 1:00 PM
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, Cincinnati, 1:00 PM
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 21, at Indianapolis, 1:00 PM
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28, San Diego, 1:00 PM
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, Baltimore, 1:00 PM
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, at Dallas, 1:00 PM
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, Pittsburgh, 1:00 PM
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, at Oakland, 4:15 PM
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, Kansas City, 1:00 PM
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, Washington, 1:00 PM
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, at Denver, 4:05 PM
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, at Pittsburgh, 1:00 PM