Monday, February 10, 2014
Strength of schedule: Cleveland Browns
By Pat McManamon
The Cleveland Browns catch a break with their schedule in 2014.
Browns opponents have a combined .465 won-lost percentage next season, which makes their schedule the 26th toughest in the league -- or to look at it another way, the seventh easiest.
The drawback, of course, is that the other teams in the AFC North play the same schedule that includes the AFC and NFC South. Those two divisions had five losing teams last season.
Pittsburgh’s schedule ranks 25th, Cincinnati’s 23rd and Baltimore’s 28th. If the opponents remain consistent, the AFC North could have some impressive won-lost records in ’14. The Browns' home opponents were a combined .461 in 2013, the road opponents a combined .469.
The other drawback is that looks may be deceiving. This schedule could change in a hurry.
In addition to division games, the Browns will play Houston, Indianapolis, Oakland, New Orleans and Tampa Bay at home, and Jacksonville, Tennessee, Buffalo, Atlanta and Carolina on the road.
Houston was picked by many to reach the Super Bowl a year ago. Instead, the Texans wound up with the first overall draft pick. With new coach Bill O’Brien, the Texans could improve in a hurry. The same is true for Atlanta, which had a tough season with injuries in 2013 after five winning seasons in a row, four of which involved playoff appearances.