By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on April 25, 2014
The NFL schedule has been released, and fans are looking to see what crucial games their teams will be playing in 2014. The Cleveland Browns and their fans are looking for a 180 degree turnaround to begin this year. In order for that to ignite, Cleveland must perform well in these five impactful games of 2014.
The Browns' matchup against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2 is Cleveland's first game against a 2013 playoff team. The Saints' offense will be a tough challenge for the Browns, so it will be interesting to see how the new defensive players will respond to their new team and coaches. Luckily for the Browns, the game is also the first home game of the season, so the Dawg Pound should be rocking.
With 12 games under their belt, the Browns will face a tough Indianapolis Colts team in Cleveland. Week 14 should be a barometer of the 2014 Browns, as the Colts have made the playoffs in consecutive seasons. Cleveland will be facing former running back Trent Richardson, and the Browns could be doing it with the Colts' No. 26 pick in the draft.
The Browns will be facing off against the reigning AFC North champions for the first time in week 10 on Thursday Night Football. Not only will this be a big inner-division matchup, but the Browns will have played in half of their games, providing a benchmark for the team's progression. Depending on how the division shapes up, the first tilt in the battle of Ohio could have an important impact on the standings.
The Browns have a tough matchup in week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens. The AFC North could have four teams in the mix for the division crown by season's end, which would make the Browns vs. Ravens game a very interesting and impactful matchup. In case the Browns are not in contention for a playoff spot, it's the last game for Browns' players to prove their worth and gain momentum heading into 2015.
Wasting no time facing their hated division rival, the Browns head to Pittsburgh in Week 1 of the season. This is where all of the offseason moves and draft choices will take to the field in the hopes of turning around the Cleveland franchise. Getting off to a good start is always beneficial, especially in the NFL where momentum can be enough to put a team in the win column any given week. Look for the Browns to bring a renewed energy in 2014.
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