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5 takeaways from the Browns' 2023 schedule

The Browns are set to play two primetime games and will have an early bye week after a first month packed with division games


The Browns' 2023 regular season schedule is out, and we're breaking it down with five big takeaways from the 17-game slate.

1. A crucial, AFC North-filled first month …

The Browns will find out right away where they stack against their three division rivals.

Three of their first four matchups to open the season will be against teams from the AFC North, starting with the Bengals in Week 1, Steelers in Week 2 and Ravens in Week 4.

If the Browns take care of business, they'll start the year with an excellent divisional record that should provide them cushion for when they face them all again later in the year. The rematch with the Ravens will arrive in Week 10, while the second Steelers' battle will follow in Week 11. The Browns won't face the Bengals again all the way until Week 18, which marks the fifth time in franchise history they'll open and close the season against the same opponent (2017, 1963, 1957 and 1956).

2. … with one big primetime opportunity right away

That Week 2 game against the Steelers will be in front of a national audience.

It'll take place on Monday Night Football at Acrisure Stadium with an 8:15 p.m. kickoff on ABC, marking the fifth-straight year the Browns will play a primetime game against the Steelers. They'll look to snap a (shield your eyes now) 19-game losing streak in the regular season in Pittsburgh — although they did beat the Steelers on the road in the playoffs in 2020.

A win in Week 2 would not only snap that streak, but give the Browns a chance to send a statement in the AFC with their first full season with QB Deshaun Watson, who will likely have to muscle the Browns through an always-stingy Steelers defense.

The Browns' 2023 regular-season schedule has been released. Check out how the season unfolds with this photo gallery

3. Bye week arrives early

The Browns will be among the first teams in the NFL to take their midseason break — they'll receive it on the first week possible where bye weeks occur on the league calendar.

Week 5 will be a time for rest and recharging for the Browns, who will then play for 13 consecutive weeks to close the season. The break comes early, but it could still be an opportune time away from the field after a difficult, division game-filled start to the year and a preseason that will contain plenty of time on the road.

If there are any early-season injuries, the break will also be a good time for players to heal up before hitting a long finish to the year.

4. Two big AFC matchups to close it

The final two games offer a grand opportunity to potentially solidify a playoff spot, and the first of them will be featured in a primetime setting.

The Browns will host the Jets at Cleveland Browns Stadium in their lone primetime home game of the year on Dec. 28 for Thursday Night Football. The matchup with the Aaron Rodgers-led Jets was one of the most intriguing opponents scheduled to play in Cleveland, and it'll happen with the playoffs only a few weeks away.

A lot could be at stake, and the Browns will be the beneficiaries of playing at home on a short week.

5. Room for more primetime?

The Browns were tabbed for two primetime games, the same amount of night games they played last season, but that doesn't mean they're locked into finishing the year with just two nationally televised games.

The league and their broadcast partners are able to use flex scheduling and may change Sunday Night Football games from Week 5 through Week 17 and Monday Night Football from Week 13 through Week 17. The Browns could be a candidate for one of those flex spots if they're in the playoff hunt and go against another high-performing team.

Dates and times are also still yet to be set for two of their games — Week 15 at home against the Bears and Week 17 on the road against the Bengals. Those games could be an option for a primetime slot, too.

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