First-year Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski envisions a “rocking” atmosphere when the team opens the 2013 NFL regular season against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Sept. 8, at FirstEnergy Stadium, Home of the Cleveland Browns.
For the Browns, it is the 14th time in 15 seasons that they have opened the season at home, and the first opener against an AFC East team since they played Miami on Sept. 14, 1992.
“I’m excited about that,” Chudzinski said of opening at home. “We’ll get FirstEnergy Stadium rocking with all the fans there, and the Dawg Pound will be barking, and I can’t wait. It’s huge just to get started. This is a new staff. It’s a new team, and it’s a new time for the Browns to start out at home.”
Following their home-opener, the Browns travel to Baltimore for the home-opener of the reigning Super Bowl-champion Ravens on Sunday, Sept. 15. It is the first of six divisional games, and two within the month of September. Two weeks after the Baltimore game, the Browns host Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 29.
The Browns will close the regular season at Pittsburgh on Sunday, Dec. 29, the second of two games against the Steelers in the final six weeks of the schedule.
“It’s critical in your division, how you play those games,” Chudzinski said. “The second week is the Baltimore game on the road, and certainly, that will be a big test for us. Most of the divisional games are laid out later in the season, and we finish up in Pittsburgh, so it’s an exciting schedule. It’s a demanding schedule, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The bye week -- Sunday, Nov. 10 -- comes during a stretch when the Browns have three road games in a five-week period, and bookends two AFC North Division games, Sunday, Nov. 3 against the Ravens at home, and at Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 17.
“It comes after the ninth game, so it’s a good time around that time during the season,” Chudzinski said of the bye week. “You’ve been playing for a while. You need a little bit of a break, and sometimes, guys can get a little healthier. You catch up, review, and get ready to roll again.”
Before the bye week, the Browns will play their one prime-time game in 2013, and will be the home team in that contest for the first time since 2009 when they host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, Oct. 3, as part of the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football package of games.
This year’s game will mark the third time in their history that the Browns will play the Bills in prime time, and it will be the second meeting in Cleveland. Each team won one of the previous meetings, and did so on the road.
“We’ll be fired up for that, playing prime time Thursday night,” Chudzinski said. “We’re looking forward to seeing all the people out there, all the fans, all the great fans out there. I know the Muni Lot will be rocking, and we’ll have fun.”