Instant Schedule Reactions: Can Browns Survive Playoff-Worthy December?

It is finally time that time of year, as the NFL has officially released its full regular season schedule.

For the Cleveland Browns, that meant finding out when they would have to play the 12 teams that had a winning record from last season, which gives them the league's toughest schedule.

While it is still "too early" to make predictions about these games, as a lot can still change, we will give our instant reactions anyway.

Week 1: – Sept 8 – vs. Dallas Cowboys

instant schedule reactions: can browns survive playoff-worthy december?

Instant Schedule Reactions: Can Browns Survive Playoff-Worthy December?

Starting hot, the Browns will be tested out of the gate with a potential playoff team, the Dallas Cowboys, in one Fox's game of the week. Who wins the quarterback battle: Dak Prescott vs. Deshaun Watson?

If both teams are at their best, both sets of fans should be in for a good season-opening game.

Week 2: Sept 15 - at Jacksonville Jaguars

After a disappointing season this past year, as Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars couldn't make the postseason at 9-8, they are looking to bounce back. Even after losing Calvin Ridley in free agency, this Jaguars offense looks good, but they will need rookie first-round receiver Brian Thomas to make an impact early.

Week 3: - Sept 22 - vs New York Giants

Going into what feels like a make-or-break year for coach Brian Daboll, the Giants will need to win this game if they hope to make the postseason.

However, there are still plenty of questions surrounding the Giants, even after passing on a quarterback in the NFL Draft, to add a top receiver in Malik Nabers instead.

Week 4: - Sept 29 - at Las Vegas Raiders

After the firing of Josh McDaniels last season, the Raiders became the Cinderella-esque story of the NFL under now-permanent coach Antonio Pierce. But can they turn their 5-4 end to the season into success throughout 17 games?

I still have plenty of questions regarding the Raiders quarterback situation with Aidan O'Connell, even after what many felt was a promising rookie year.

Week 5: - Oct 6 - at Washington Commanders

On paper, this looks like a game where the Browns' dominant defense will be the story here, as I expect Myles Garrett to add rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels to the list of signal-callers he's sacked.

Week 6: - Oct 13 - at Philadelphia Eagles

Even after the Eagles' disappointing end to last season, this game will be one to watch because it features a matchup between potentially two of the league's best run games and maybe two top defenses.

Week 7: - Oct 20 - vs Cincinnati Bengals

There is a reason the AFC North has three of the hardest schedules in the league, and that is because of the division itself. If Joe Burrow can remain healthy, the two meetings with the Bengals should be entertaining.

Week 8: - Oct 27 - vs Baltimore Ravens

Even after the Ravens' recent season, led by quarterback Lamar Jackson's MVP campaign and one of the top defenses, I have questions about their offensive line after some key departures this offseason.

Considering the stout Browns' front seven, this feels like a game where the defense could single-handedly be the reason for victory in what could turn into a low-scoring affair.

Week 9: - Nov 3 - vs Los Angeles Chargers

Even after the hiring of now-former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, the Chargers still don't look like they are a playoff team.

Week 10: BYE WEEK

Week 11: - Nov 17 - at New Orleans Saints

Is Derek Carr still the Saints' starting quarterback by this matchup?

Week 12: - Nov 21 - vs Pittsburgh Steelers (Thursday Night Football)

Which quarterback will the Browns face? Will it be the expected starter as of right now, Russell Wilson? Or, maybe it will end up being Justin Fields because either he beats out Wilson in training camp, or the veteran is benched midseason.

Week 13: - Dec 2 - at Denver Broncos (Monday Night Football)

The Browns are gifted extra rest days before going to Empower Field at Mile High. Does the release of Russell Wilson and the trade of Jerry Jeudy to the Browns make the Broncos a better team?

I don't think so.

Week 14: - Dec 8 - at Pittsburgh Steelers

This will officially mark the beginning of what could be the toughest stretch.

Assuming just three teams from the AFC North make the postseason again and the Bengals are back in playoff contention, this game could decide who makes the playoffs between the Steelers and Browns.

Week 15: - Dec 15 - vs Kansas City Chiefs

Top defense versus top offense? If the Browns offense performs to expectations, this game could be a playoff preview.

Week 16: - Dec 19 - vs Bengals (Thursday Night Football)

Again, this could be a game-of-the-year candidate if Burrow can stay healthy and the Bengals' offense is hitting on all cylinders.

Week 17: - Dec 29 - vs Miami Dolphins

This is another potential game in which one of the league's top defenses will face a top offense. Garrett and Co. will have their work cut out for them when Tua Tagovailoa comes to town.

However, potentially unluckily for the Dolphins, they won't bring the heat to Cleveland.

Week 18: - TBD - at Ravens 

Depending on the stakes, this game could be the Browns' final primetime appearance of the regular season.

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