When the NFL released the regular season schedule for 2010-2011 on Tuesday, one thing is for sure: fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and fans of the Cleveland Browns uttered, "hey, we can start off the season 1-0!"
The official schedule can be seen in the image to the right. The first two games come against opponents that I would say based on the end of last season there is no reason we shouldn't be competitive. Next up are two division games against the Ravens and the Bengals, which is the typical time of the season we seem to face each of the teams.
I would deem Week 6 to Week 10 as our brutal stretch of the regular season. It starts off with two road games -- one against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the other against the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.
After a bye-week (I always like them in the middle of the season), it'll be a double dose of Eric Mangini facing teams he's had former ties too -- it probably works out better in his favor that those games are in Cleveland.
Two things stand out during the brutal stretch:
- Reports indicate that Ben Roethlisberger could serve a 4-6 game suspension. Sources indicate the suspension will be set at 6 but can be reduced to 4 based on good behavior. If it's a six-game suspension, we won't see Roethlisberger for the first game. If it's a four-game suspension, the rust factor could still come into play.
- WR Braylon Edwards will return to Cleveland Browns Stadium in November. Can't wait to see the warm reaction he receives from Cleveland fans.
From Week 11 to Week 14, we sort of hit another "easy" patch. I quote the word "easy" because I'm trying to state that the stretch would seem to be easy in comparison to the previous stretch.
Then, to close out the season, we face all three of our divisional opponents, the last game coming against the Steelers. Two of those three games are at home, which seemed to be what most of you wished for. It's too early to start making projections, but the NFL schedule is more geared toward determining a team like the Browns' divisional hopes to close out the season now.
I wouldn't look too much into all of our games being at 1:00 pm right now. Times are always subject to change to 4:05 pm depending on if the television networks want to swap a game in/out of a timeslot based on their record. We don't have any prime time games lined up either, which comes as quite a surprise considering we're usually guaranteed at least one game against a divisional opponent. I guess that's what happens when you play so horrible on Monday Night against the Ravens last year. The Browns could still be a team that gets moved into a Sunday Night Football slot later in the season.
In other schedule news...
- I like the first regular season choice -- the Saints vs. the Vikings in an NFC Championship rematch. Brett Favre won't confirm a comeback, but it seems that he will return. If not, then the game will be a lot less interesting.
- I'm quite surprised the NFL actually went through and made sure every Week 17 game pits division opponents against each other. Having so many division games in one week will be a trial run as a fan -- I don't know if it means I'll be excited to see more competitive games, or if I'll be disappointed because I can't follow so many important games all in one week.
- Braylon Edwards currently has five prime time games that he can choke in.
For initial Browns fans reaction to this year's schedule, you can check out the FanPost that went up yesterday.