The Cleveland Browns have the chance to turn heads in 2014. The NFL‘s schedule release was relatively generous to a team that is in the process of rebuilding. However, the Browns face tough competition in their first three games of the season, including two division rivals. While the AFC North is consistently tough and with Cleveland struggling to compete in the division, the NFL schedulers were kind to the Browns pertaining to their non-division schedule. Cleveland’s non-division opponents compiled a total record of 65-95 last year.
The Browns’ schedule for 2014:
Week 1: at Pittsburgh Steelers — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 2: vs. New Orleans Saints — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 3: vs. Baltimore Ravens — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 4: BYE
Week 5: Tennessee Titans — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 6: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 7: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 8: vs. Oakland Raiders — 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 9: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 10: (Thursday) at Cincinnati Bengals — 8:25 p.m. ET
Week 11: vs. Houston Texans — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 12: at Atlanta Falcons — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 13: vs. Buffalo Bills — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 14: vs. Indianapolis Colts — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 15: vs. Cincinnati Bengals — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 16: at Carolina Panthers — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 17: at Baltimore Ravens — 1:00 p.m. ET
Unlike recent seasons, the Browns face the Steelers twice in the first six weeks of the year. Although Cleveland is facing a number of teams who underachieved in 2013, look for the Browns to face much-improved teams like the Falcons, Buccaneers, Raiders and Texans. If the Browns are having success through Week 13, look for the matchup with the up and coming Colts in Week 14 to be a barometer of Cleveland’s progress.
While Cleveland isn’t ready to win the AFC North, look for the Browns to put a better product on the field in 2014. The 2014 schedule should allow this team to win some games and gain momentum heading into the 2015 season.