1. Kansas City rematch arrives early
The Browns are starting their 2021 season right where they left off from 2020 — in Kansas City.
Cleveland saw its playoff run end in the AFC Divisional Round last season at Arrowhead Stadium, and it'll travel there again for an early chance at revenge against the Chiefs, who defeated the Browns 22-17 to end their 2020 season, for a 4:25 p.m. kickoff on opening weekend.
Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will provide an immediate test of advanced difficulty for the new weapons added to the Browns defense, which now includes DE Jadeveon Clowney, S John Johnson III and CBs Troy Hill and Greg Newsome II, among several other new players.
2. Same amount of primetime games
And the first one won't arrive until Week 7, a Thursday Night Football contest against the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Browns have two more on their schedule to bring them to three total primetime settings in 2021. That's the same amount of under-the-lights matchups from 2020, although Sunday and Monday Night games from Weeks 5-17 are subject to change.
As of now, the remaining two primetime games will feature a Sunday Night kickoff at M&T Bank Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 28 (Week 12) and a Monday Night contest at Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 3 (Week 17), which will be 365 days since their Week 17 playoff-clincher from 2020.
The Browns' 2021 regular-season schedule has been released. Check out how the season unfolds with this photo gallery
3. Second half loaded with divisional games
Including back-to-back games with the Ravens. Yes, the Browns will face Baltimore again in the next game after their Week 12 primetime matchup, but they'll have a bye week wedged between. The second meeting will arrive Dec. 12 with a 1 p.m. kickoff at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Cleveland won't have to face any AFC North opponents, however, until Week 8 when they play their first game against the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Halloween at FirstEnergy Stadium. A trip to Cincinnati follows in Week 9.
Four of the last six games of the season will be against AFC North opponents, with the last two coming against the Steelers and Bengals.
4. About that bye week …
It's the latest bye week the Browns have had since 2016, and it comes with its pros and cons.
No team prefers to play 12 straight games to open their season, but it will likely allow the Browns to rest possible injured players and recover for what promises to be a crucial final five games and a chase to the playoffs. The resting period will be welcomed for their second matchup with the Ravens regardless of how their first Week 12 meetings ends.
Last season, the Browns turned a noticeable corner after their Week 9 bye. Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw 15 touchdowns and two interceptions, including playoff performances, in the 11 games following the week off, and the Browns went 7-4 in that stretch to set the table for their run to the playoffs.
5. Christmas in Green Bay
The Browns' plans on Christmas Day have been booked.
Cleveland will spend the holiday in Green Bay for Week 16 for a Saturday game against the Packers at Lambeau Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and will be one of two NFL games broadcasted that day. For the Browns, the game is the first the franchise will ever play on Christmas.
The matchup will also be Browns' first against the Packers since 2017 and first trip Cleveland has taken to 'The Frozen Tundra' since 2013.