The NFL Schedule just came out at 2:00 and my first reaction is that the Cleveland Browns are on ESPN, NBC and NFL Network a combined FIVE times. The NFL Schedule makers are really putting a lot of faith in the Browns on being a playoff contender for the second straight season.
Look at some of these games Sunday Night Football has
Week 3 – Dallas @ Green Bay
Week 5 – Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville
Week 6 – New England @ San Diego
Week 9 – New England @ Indianapolis
Week 12 – Indianapolis @ San Diego
Week 15 – New York Giants @ Dallas
The big winner to me is Sunday Night Football here. They always have great games because of Flex Scheduling, but to have these six games locked up are huge. The big game they locked up is week 9 with New England @ Indianapolis. That is the marquee match up every year and to have that game on the schedule for NBC is huge.
Two teams that really have tough schedules are Pittsburgh and Dallas. Dallas does play in the NFC East, so their schedule should be tough. Pittsburgh on the other hand plays in the same division as Cincinnati and Baltimore, so how did they get the toughest schedule in the league? Well, let’s take a look at it.
Week 1 – vs. Houston
Week 2 – @ Cleveland
Week 3 – @ Philadelphia
Week 4 – vs. Baltimore
Week 5 – @ Jacksonville
Week 6 – BYE
Week 7 – @ Cincinnati
Week 8 – vs. NYG
Week 9 – @ Washington
Week 10 – vs. Indianapolis
Week 11 – vs. San Diego
Week 12 – vs. Cincinnati
Week 13 – @ New England
Week 14 – vs. Dallas
Week 15 – @ Baltimore
Week 16 – @ Tennessee
Week 17 – vs. Cleveland
Look at that schedule. Other than the games inside of the division against Cincinnati and Baltimore, there are NO easy games on the schedule. But to have the easiest games of your season inside the division is no cupcake either because division games are brutal and anything can happen. The Steelers will have a dogfight week in and week out and at this point, if the Steelers don’t make the playoffs, it will not surprise me one bit.