The Cleveland Browns will begin and end the 2012 regular season in familiar places.
For the 13th time in the last 14 years, the Browns will open the season at home. They play host to the Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. ET. For the second time in five years, the Browns end the season with a visit to their AFC North Division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Browns and Steelers end the 2012 regular season with a 1 p.m. ET game at Heinz Field on Sunday, Dec. 30.
“Although we have known our opponents and where we are going to play since the end of last season, there is always a certain amount of anticipation as to how everything will fall into place,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said in a release. “I think that opening the year at home against the Eagles will be great for our players and our fans. It will be exciting to play a team, an organization and a coach for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect. It will be a good test for our team. Ending the year in two of the tougher venues in the NFL also will present a challenge. I am looking forward to kicking off the 2012 season.”
The Browns’ 2012 opponents posted a combined record of 102-106 in 2011 and half of the 16 games will be against teams who qualified for postseason play last season.
After consecutive seasons with a stretch of three straight road games, the Browns play no more than back-to-back games away from Cleveland Browns Stadium. Their longest stretches of games away from Cleveland come in late September/early October and at the end of December.
The Browns play their first road game of the year on Sunday, Sept. 16 against their intrastate rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals. After returning home to play the Buffalo Bills (Sunday, Sept. 23), the Browns play back-to-back road games, first at Baltimore on Thursday, Sept. 27 and then, 10 days later against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Following the two road games, the Browns will play three of the next four at home before the bye week on Nov. 11. They host the Bengals (Oct. 14), San Diego Chargers (Oct. 28) and Ravens (Nov. 4) with a road trip to Indianapolis (Oct. 21) also on the pre-bye week schedule.
The Browns return from the bye week and play at Dallas (Nov. 18) before hosting the Steelers (Nov. 25).
Over the final five weeks of the season, the Browns will play three road games, including at the Oakland Raiders (Dec. 2), Denver Broncos (Dec. 23) and Steelers (Dec. 30). The team’s final two home games come against the Kansas City Chiefs (Dec. 9) and Washington Redskins (Dec. 16).
PLAYING THE CHAMPIONS
For the fourth season in five years, the Browns will play the defending Super Bowl champions. Over that time, the Browns are 3-1 against the reigning champions, dating back to a 35-14 win over the New York Giants at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Oct. 13, 2008.
The Browns split the season series against the Steelers in 2009 and then, defeated the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome 30-17 on Oct. 24, 2010.
Last year, the Browns defeated the reigning Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in the preseason opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
REVISITING THE PAST
Excluding the home-and-away games slated for the AFC North, the Browns will make return trips to two stadiums they played in during the 2011 season.
The Browns return to Lucas Oil Stadium against the Colts on Oct. 21 and, later in the season, travel back to California to play the Oakland Raiders (Dec. 2). The Browns defeated the Colts 27-19 on Sept. 18 and fell to the Raiders 24-17 on Oct. 16 last season.
AFC NORTH GAMES
The Browns played five of their six games against the AFC North after Thanksgiving last season, but in 2012, all but the two games with the Steelers will be played before the bye week on Sunday, Nov. 11.
The Browns travel to Cincinnati and Baltimore in the first month of the season and play home games with the Bengals and Ravens over the next five weeks.
2012 BROWNS SCHEDULE
Friday, August 10 at Detroit Lions, 7:30 p.m. ET
Thursday, August 16 at Green Bay Packers, 8:00 p.m. ET
Friday, August 24 Philadelphia Eagles, 7:30 p.m. ET
Thursday, August 30 Chicago Bears, 7:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, September 9 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, September 16 at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, September 23 vs. Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, September 27 at Baltimore Ravens, 8:20 p.m. ET
Sunday, October 7 at New York Giants, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, October 14 vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, October 21 at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, October 28 vs. San Diego Chargers, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, November 4 vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, November 11 BYE WEEK
Sunday, November 18 at Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, November 25 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, December 2 at Oakland Raiders, 4:15 p.m. ET
Sunday, December 9 vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, December 16 vs. Washington Redskins, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, December 23 at Denver Broncos, 4:05 p.m. ETSunday, December 30 at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. ET