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Just how tough is the Browns' 2015 schedule?


Mike Pettine alluded to it in his end-of-season press conference, and a look at how this year's playoffs unfolded only confirmed it.

The Browns need to improve not only because owner Jimmy Haslam, general manager Ray Farmer, Pettine and the rest of the team's contributing members aren't satisfied with a 7-9 finish, but also because the competition promises to be dramatically elevated in 2015.

"The lessons we learned this past year do us no good if we don't correct those mistakes, that we don't make them again, and just knowing and planting the seed that in 2015 it's going to be a bigger challenge for us, just for the sheer fact of the schedule – the teams that we play," Pettine said. "I know our strength of schedule will be much more difficult. We know we have to be that much better moving into next year."

It starts, of course, with the Browns' own division, which sent three teams to the AFC playoffs. On top of that, the Browns are swapping out the cross-divisional matchups they had with the AFC and NFC South for games with the AFC and NFC West.

While the South divisions produced just two teams with winning records during the 2013 regular season, the West accounted for five, including NFC champion Seattle. The Browns will play on the Seahawks' home field, a place at which Seattle's lost just twice in the past two seasons.

Nine of the Browns' 16 regular season games in 2015 will be against teams that made the 2014 playoffs. Three of the other games will be against teams that finished 8-8 or better.

The Browns' 2015 opponents combined to go 107-100-1 in 2014. For comparison's sake, the teams they played this past season finished 90-117-1.

Does this mean Cleveland's schedule will ultimately live up to its billing? Of course not, but the Browns are carrying the mindset that nothing will come easy in 2015.

How this schedule breaks down will come to light in April, when the full slate is released. Here's how each team fared in 2014 and how they've done over the past five years.

Home and away


2014 record: 10-6; Beat Pittsburgh in Wild Card round, eliminated by New England

Record since 2010: 52-28

Playoffs?: Advanced in four of last five years; Won Super Bowl XLVII on year after losing AFC Championship


2014 record: 11-5; AFC North champions; Lost to Baltimore in Wild Card round

Record since 2010: 51-29

Playoffs?: Lost Super Bowl XLV to Green Bay; Ended two-year playoff drought in 2014


2014 record: 10-5-1; Lost to Indianapolis in Wild Card round

Record since 2010: 44-36

Playoffs?: Lost in Wild Card round in four consecutive seasons



2014 record: 12-4; AFC West champions; Lost to Indianapolis in Divisional round

Record since 2010: 50-30

Playoffs?: Lost Super Bowl XLVIII to Seattle; Advanced to Divisional round in four straight seasons


2014 record: 3-13; Worst finish since 2006

Record since 2010: 27-53

Playoffs?: The Raiders have not made the playoffs since they lost Super Bowl XXXVII to Tampa Bay in January 2003.

San Francisco

2014 record: 8-8; Did not advance to playoffs for first time since 2010

Record since 2010: 50-29-1

Playoffs?: Before this season, San Francisco had advanced to the NFC Championship in three consecutive seasons and played in Super Bowl XLVII.


2014 record: 11-5; Lost to Carolina in Wild Card round

Record since 2010: 39-41

Playoffs?: Arizona's trip to the postseason was its first since 2009. The Cardinals did not make the 2013 playoffs despite racking up a 10-6 record.


2014 record: 2-14; Worst finish since 1994

Record since 2010: 30-50

Playoffs?: The Titans have not made the playoffs since 2008.


Kansas City

2014 record: 9-7; Were eliminated from playoff contention during Week 17

Record since 2010: 39-41

Playoffs?: The Chiefs have advanced to the Wild Card round in two of the past five seasons.

San Diego

2014 record: 9-7; Were eliminated from playoff contention during Week 17

Record since 2010: 42-38

Playoffs?: Beat Cincinnati in the 2013 Wild Card round for its first playoff win since 2008.


2014 record: 12-4; Lost to New England in Super Bowl XLIX

Record since 2010: 50-30

Playoffs?: Won first Super Bowl in franchise history last season; Have advanced as far as Divisional Round in four of last five seasons.

St. Louis

2014 record: 6-10

Record since 2010: 29-51

Playoffs?: The Rams have not made the playoffs since 2004

New York Jets

2014 record: 4-12; Worst finish since 2007

Record since 2010: 37-43

Playoffs?: The Jets have not made the playoffs since losing in the 2010 AFC Championship

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