Now that we know the Browns' 2022 schedule, we're breaking down the five biggest storylines from the 17-game slate.
1. Opportunity for best start in (almost) three decades
The Browns haven't started a season 2-0 since 1993, but with games against the Panthers and Jets — two teams who combined to go 9-25 last year — to open the season, that 29-year streak could come to an end.
The first step, of course, is ending another slump that has long plagued Cleveland. The Browns haven't won a Week 1 contest since 2004 and have gone 1-21-1 in season openers since the franchise returned in 1999. Week 1 will be one of their best chances to reverse the trend — they also haven't played a team with a previous season's record as low as the Panthers (5-12) since the Jets (4-12 in 2014) in 2015.
If the Browns take care of business in Charlotte, they'll return to Cleveland to play in a home-opener environment at FirstEnergy Stadium against a Jets team that won four games last year.
It's a favorable way to open the season, but nothing will be given to the Browns. The Panthers are hoping for immediate improvements in their third season with head coach Matt Rhule, and the Jets will boast an upgraded roster after they scooped three first-round picks (CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, WR Garrett Wilson, DE Jermaine Johnson) in the 2022 draft.
The Browns' 2022 regular-season schedule has been released. Check out how the season unfolds with this photo gallery
2. An extra primetime edge in two home divisional games
The Browns are locked into only two primetime games, but both are at home and both are against two AFC North rivals.
The first comes early in Week 3, when the Browns host the Steelers on Thursday Night Football. Cleveland will look forward to having a loud hometown crowd in its first time seeing either Mitchell Trubisky or first-round pick Kenny Pickett, and not QB Ben Roethlisberger, in a Steelers uniform.
The second primetime matchup is in Week 8 against the Bengals on a Halloween edition of Monday Night Football. It's the first time the reigning AFC champions will play against the Browns in 2022, and it'll come the week before the Browns are set to take their bye in Week 9.
"Our players love to play under the lights, and I know our fans love to be loud under the lights," coach Kevin Stefanski said. "To get the Steelers on Thursday Night Football and then get the Bengals on Monday Night Football, I know those will be unbelievable atmospheres to watch a ballgame."
3. Conveniently placed bye week
A bye week in the middle of the schedule is perhaps the best time for a break — it's not too early or late in the season and prevents a team from playing through any significantly long stretches of the year where injuries can take an extended toll.
The Browns will take their bye in Week 9, giving them eight weeks of games before it and nine games after it. Two division games against the Ravens (Week 7) and Bengals (Week 8) offer an opportunity for the Browns to head into the break with plenty of momentum, and they can rest and prepare for a post-bye slate that contains three tough opponents in the Dolphins (Week 10), Bills (Week 11) and Buccaneers (Week 12).
Those five games are among the toughest opponents the Browns will see all year, which makes the placement of a bye even more opportune.
4. Toughest two-game stretch in Weeks 11-12
No two-game portion of the schedule appears tougher than the road game against the Bills in Week 11 and a home game against the Bucs in Week 12.
Each of those opponents are likely to be tabbed as Super Bowl favorites come Week 1 and are led by two of the top QBs in the league in Josh Allen and Tom Brady. It should pose a test at how ready the Browns are to build a playoff run, and words probably don't properly describe the kind of momentum that would be gained from winning both games.
5. Three divisional games in last five weeks
The final push for the Browns will include games against each of their divisional rivals, starting with a Week 14 matchup against the Bengals, a Week 15 battle against the Ravens and the season-ending game in Week 18 against the Steelers.
If the Browns are going to receive any more primetime games, they'll likely happen in those games against the Ravens or Steelers. Both contests are the only two on the schedule without a starting time, and it's because the NFL is leaving them open as a flex option if high playoff stakes are on the line.