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Breaking down the Browns' 2018 schedule: NFC South

The new-look Browns will get tested early and often by the NFC South, which might be one of the league's strongest divisions. We're breaking down matchups against the Saints, Buccaneers, Falcons and Panthers. 

Week 2: New Orleans Saints

Sept. 16 (1 p.m) @Mercedes-Benz Superdome

2017 record: 11-5

The skinny: A week after hosting the Steelers in the season opener, the Browns travel to New Orleans to face one of the best teams in the NFC. The Saints were dominant down the stretch in 2017 and lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Vikings in the conference semifinals. New Orleans, which received major contributions from rookies in cornerback Marshon Lattimore, running back Alvin Kamara and tackle Ryan Ramczyk, only stands to improve next fall.

Week 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Oct. 21 (1 p.m.) @Raymond James Stadium

2017 record: 5-11

The skinny: Following three straight years of preseason clashes, this one counts for real. The Browns will take on fourth-year quarterback Jameis Winston and a Buccaneers team looking to avenge a disappointing 2017 campaign. Tampa Bay was expected to make a playoff run and, instead, finished 5-11.

Week 10: Atlanta Falcons

Nov. 11 (1 p.m) @FirstEnergy Stadium

2017 record: 10-6

The skinny: When these teams last met in 2014, the Browns were riding high following a 26-24 win at the Georgia Dome that pushed them to 7-4. Since then, of course, Cleveland has struggled to get that magical feeling back.

Week 14: Carolina Panthers

Dec. 9 (1 p.m) @FirstEnergy Stadium

2017 record: 11-5

The skinny: The Browns host the Panthers in their first meeting since December 2014. It might be just a little fun to watch Myles Garrett get after Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.

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