Schedule Contains More Breaks Than Obstacles For The Browns

Odell Beckham Jr. has two return trips to MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands in back-to-back weeks in December.

Odell Beckham Jr. has two return trips to MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands in back-to-back weeks in December.

Schedule contains more breaks than obstacles for the Browns

You must have an active subscription to read this story.

Click Here to subscribe Now!

Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for and 850 ESPN Cleveland.

The Browns received several breaks in their 2020 schedule released by the NFL on Thursday.

Such as:

*Both their prime-time games are at home against division rivals – Sept. 17 (Thursday night) against the Bengals and Dec. 14 (Monday night) against the Ravens.

*They get a full month at home smack in the middle of the season. They play the Raiders at home Nov. 1, have their bye Nov. 8, play the Texans at home Nov. 15, and stay at home against the Eagles Nov. 22.

*They were spared a trip to London. A source told that the original schedule had the Browns playing the Jaguars in London on Nov. 1. After the NFL cancelled its International Game series, the Jaguars game was rescheduled for Nov. 29 in Jacksonville.

There were some obstacles strewn in front of them also, such as:

*The season opener is at Baltimore against the two-time defending division champion Ravens and league MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Browns are 1-19-1 in season openers since 1999.

*Two trips to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey occur in back-to-back games sandwiched around Christmas, Dec. 20 against the Giants and Dec. 26 or 27 against the Jets. Sure, those are short trips. But keeping a team focused during the Christmas holiday is always a coaching challenge, especially on the road.

Here’s a closer look at the Browns’ schedule:

Week 1: Sept. 13, at Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 p.m. CBS

Might be the worst time to meet the No. 1 seed from last season that laid an egg in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs after a 14-2 regular season. Although the Browns have played Lamar Jackson fairly well, you have to believe the Ravens will be loaded for bear to erase the bad memory they’ve been holding since their playoff ouster by Tennessee.

Week 2: Sept. 17 (Thurs.), home v. Cincinnati Bengals, 8:20 p.m. NFL Network.

A quick turnaround against a familiar, and weak, division foe. Still, an 0-1 start would apply real pressure in this one on Baker Mayfield. He lost to Heisman Trophy winner and former Oklahoma teammate Kyler Murray last year. Reigning Heisman winner Joe Burrow will be making his second NFL start.

Week 3: Sept. 27, home v. Washington Redskins, 1:00 p.m. FOX

This will be a great test for the Browns’ revamped offensive line. Pass rusher Chase Young joins an already formidable Washington front four in Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Montez Sweat. This would be a good opportunity for the Browns’ defense to harass Dwayne Haskins and control the game.

Week 4: Oct. 4, at Dallas Cowboys, 1:00 p.m. FOX

Much of the pre-game hype will focus on Mayfield’s first NFL game against his (near) hometown Cowboys. A more tell-tale sidebar is how Joe Woods’ defense holds up against Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Wow, what an offensive cast over there in Big D.

Week 5: Oct. 11, home v. Indianapolis Colts, 4:25 p.m. CBS

A year ago I felt when the Browns finally reached the AFC Championship Game, their likely opponent would be the Colts. Then Andrew Luck retired, and the Browns blew up another football regime. Now, who’s closer to the playoffs? The Colts added 38-year-old puff-ball thrower Philip Rivers because they think they’re ready to win big.

Week 6: Oct. 18, at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:00 p.m. CBS

The two most important games of the first half are the opener in Baltimore and this one in Pittsburgh. When will the Browns win a season opener? When will the Browns win in Pittsburgh? This game will tell us if playoffs are a realistic possibility.

Week 7: Oct. 25, at Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m. CBS

A sweep of the Bengals is absolutely essential for playoff hopes and mental health.

Week 8: Nov. 1, home v. Las Vegas Raiders, 1:00 p.m. FOX

Man, the Raiders have loaded up with quite a stable of wideouts – 4.27 40 clocker Henry Ruggs added to Tyrell Williams, Zay Jones and Nelson Agholor. Plus tight ends Darren Waller and Jason Witten. Plus running back Josh Jacobs. Another test for Woods’ defense.

Week 9: Nov. 8 – BYE

Every coach would take the bye at the midway point of the season.

Week 10: Nov. 15, home v. Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. FOX

DeShaun Watson in two starts against the Browns: 39 of 60, 449 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception, 102.7 rating. Victories of 33-17 and 29-13. Say what you want of the Texans’ playoff failures, this is a team the Browns never, ever have played well.

Week 11: Nov. 22, home v. Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m. FOX

The Browns are 0-5 against the Eagles in their expansion era and were the loser in Carson Wentz’ first NFL start.

Week 12: Nov. 29, at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 p.m. CBS

Gardner Minshew is Jacksonville’s Mayfield, mustache and all. As a sidelight, Joe Schobert recently said he signed with the Jaguars because he was tired of losing (in Cleveland). Ouch.

Week 13: Dec. 6, at Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. CBS

Their 43-13 crushing of the Browns in the last year’s opener was the first of several cold buckets of water dumped on the 2019 season. They are so disciplined and physical. A great test for the Browns’ new coaching staff.

Week 14: Dec. 14 (Mon.), home v. Baltimore Ravens, 8:15 p.m. ESPN

More than likely, this game will say whether the Browns have a chance for the playoffs.

Week 15: Dec. 20, at New York Giants, 1:00p.m. CBS

In his first return to MetLife Stadium last year against the Jets, Odell Beckham Jr. provided pre-game drama (that wrist watch), in-game drama (removed for a helmet visor violation), an acrobatic catch and a breath-taking catch-and-run. Now he faces the team that traded him for the first time. As a sidelight, Giants tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens would be wise not to don a T-shirt on Friday night with the message “They fired me.”

Week 16: Dec. 26 or 27, at New York Jets, Time TBD

Gregg Williams still is seeking revenge for the Browns snubbing him, and he might have his full defense available this time around.

Week 17: Jan. 3, home v. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:00 p.m. CBS

This is the 10th time in 22 seasons the Browns have played the Steelers in the final game. Five times a Browns coach has lost his job after a Steelers game. It won’t happen this time.