The Cleveland Browns will open and end the 2017 season against the Pittsburgh Steelers and outside of a trip to London and Los Angeles, will play 14 of their 16 games Sunday afternoons at 1.
Coming off of a 1-15 season, it’s no surprise that the Browns were eliminated for the league’s Thursday night football package marking the first time since the 2010 season they do not appear on Thursday or Monday night in the regular season.
“The schedule release is always an exciting day,” Browns head coach Hue Jackson said. “We’ve known our opponents but to get the dates and for the schedule to be laid out in front of us really give us a lot to look forward to. Obviously, it’s something our entire organization looks forward to. I know our fans like it too because they kind of get to map out their fall.”
The Browns will host the Steelers in Week 1 on Sept. 10 at FirstEnergy Stadium and travel to Pittsburgh on New Year’s eve marking the first time since 1963 and fourth time in franchise history the team will open and close the year against the same opponent. It is the seventh time Cleveland has opened a season against Pittsburgh – first since 2014 – and will be seventh time in 8 years the teams meet in Week 17 to end the regular season.
“It’s great to open at home this year in front of our fans,” Jackson said. “The Steelers have what we want as the reigning AFC North champs so this will be a great challenge and a good opportunity for us to measure ourselves at start the season. I know our fans will be really jacked up and behind us as always and we greatly appreciate them for it.”
The Browns are just 1-17 in Week 1, including 13 losses at home and an NFL-record 12 straight opening day losses, since returning in 1999.
Cleveland hits the road the next 2 weeks for trips to Baltimore and Indianapolis before hosting 3 of the next 4 at home starting Oct. 1 with the Bengals followed by the Jets and Titans on Oct. 22 with a trip to Houston scheduled for Oct. 15.
“We like the division battles whenever those games come on the schedule,” Jackson said. “It really doesn’t matter because we know we have to be at our best when we play division games and we will be up for the challenge at the start of the season.”
The Browns’ lone national TV game will be played in London on Oct. 29 where they will host the Minnesota Vikings at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time at Twickenham Stadium. The game marks the first time the Browns play a regular season game outside of the United States and will be followed by the team’s bye week Nov. 5.
“The London game comes at a really good time, with the bye following the game, it’s great to have that at the mid-season point,” Jackson said. “It’s going to be good to coach against an old friend in Mike Zimmer, across the pond. No doubt that Zim will have his team ready to go and so will we, it should be a great experience for our team to represent the City of Cleveland internationally.”
Cleveland will play 5 of their final 8 games on the road starting in Week 10 at Detroit. Trips to Cincinnati on Nov. 26, Los Angeles Dec. 3, Chicago on Christmas eve and Pittsburgh on Dec. 31 round out the away schedule. The Browns will play the Rams at the 27,000 seat StubHub Center, the temporary home of the franchise following the move from San Diego until they join the L.A. Rams in their new stadium once construction is completed in 2019.
The rest of the home slate features a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 19, the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 10 and the Ravens on Dec. 17.
“We have a lot of work in front of us before we get to the point of playing games but we’ve had a good first week to start the offseason program,” Jackson said, “and now we have the schedule to look toward.”