The Browns ranked 11th in the league in sacks last year, but it's always wise to add more pass-rushers when you have Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton in your division.
And while Cleveland ranked 19th in points per game allowed, it also ranked 24th in points per contest. On the other hand, they do have some young pieces on offense who could improve, like quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson.
Here's a look at the Browns' 2013 schedule, complete with analysis.
|2013 Cleveland Browns Schedule|
|Week||Date||Opponent||Time (ET) ||TV|
|1||Sept. 8 ||vs. Miami Dolphins||1 p.m. ||CBS|
|2||Sept. 15 ||at Baltimore Ravens||1 p.m.||CBS|
|3||Sept. 22 ||at Minnesota Vikings||1 p.m.||CBS|
|4||Sept. 29||vs. Cincinnati Bengals||1 p.m.||CBS|
|5||Oct. 3 ||vs. Buffalo Bills||8:25 p.m. ||NFL Network|
|6||Oct. 13||vs. Detroit Lions||1 p.m.||FOX|
|7||Oct. 20||at Green Bay Packers||4:25 p.m. ||CBS|
|8||Oct. 27||at Kansas City Chiefs||1 p.m.||CBS|
|9||Nov. 3||vs. Baltimore Ravens||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|10||Nov. 10|| BYE WEEK ||—||—|
|11||Nov. 17||at Cincinnati Bengals||1 p.m.||CBS|
|12||Nov. 24||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||1 p.m.||CBS|
|13||Dec. 1||vs. Jacksonville Jaguars||1 p.m.||CBS|
|14||Dec. 8||at New England Patriots||1 p.m.||CBS|
|15||Dec. 15||vs. Chicago Bears||1 p.m.||FOX|
|16||Dec. 22 ||at New York Jets||1 p.m.||CBS|
|17||Dec. 29 ||at Pittsburgh Steelers||1 p.m.||CBS|
Note: For a complete look at Cleveland's 2013 schedule, check out NFL.com.
On the other hand, Cleveland has a top-heavy schedule. The Browns play the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. But they also play the defending world champion Baltimore Ravens (twice), Cincinnati Bengals (twice), New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, all of whom where playoff teams in 2012 except for the Bears.
In addition, the Browns will play the Detroit Lions, who have the potential to improve upon their 2012 campaign.
The Lions signed free agent running back Reggie Bush in the offseason, who not only has become a better runner between the tackles, he offers the receiving ability out of the backfield to complement Detroit's passing attack.
Detroit also re-signed cornerback Chris Houston and landed former Houston Texans safety Glover Quin to help on the back end.
So, technically the Browns have an easier schedule than in 2012 (based on their opponents' 2012 records), but in reality, the schedule doesn't appear that easy at all.
It is worth mentioning that Cleveland defeated Cincinnati and Pittsburgh last season. However, the Browns beat the Steelers when Ben Roethlisberger was out and also posted one loss against each club.
Looking deeper into the Browns' schedule, it appears as if it's going to be another tough campaign. It makes the free-agent signings of former Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger and former Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant all the more important.
Most Pivotal Matchup
Any road victory against a divisional foe would be a win for the Browns (given they went 1-7 on the road and 2-4 against the AFC North last season), but defeating the defending world champion Ravens in Baltimore would be a great confidence booster.
It may seem far-fetched, but remember that the Browns lost to the Ravens last year, 23-16. That's one possession. A 63-yard interception return for a touchdown by Cary Williams (now with the Philadelphia Eagles) in the third quarter was pivotal for the Ravens in that game.
Every victory means something when you haven't won more than five games in a season since 2007, but knowing that you can beat a top team is a big part of the battle.
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