You may have heard that the Browns have the third-toughest schedule in the NFL in 2012. It is also mathematically the single most-difficult season facing any team that did not make the playoffs in 2011.
Since the NFL’s “broadcast partners”—read TV people—get so much input into the final schedule, it’s easy to see how being fair to a team that they don’t value in any time slot could be far from their bottom-line minds.
However, hope springs eternal and 'tis the season for speculation.
With the NFL Draft one week away, it’s time to expand the guesswork to the upcoming 2012 regular season football schedule. And they say Fantasy Football only starts in September. Right.
Okay, I’ll play. For the purposes of this article we are going to assume the following first premises about the Cleveland Browns:
1) Colt McCoy is getting a shot at keeping the starting QB job with an actual offseason and at least a few new weapons.
2) The Browns are going to draft Trent Richardson and he is going to be the next Adrian Peterson. No, I have no crystal ball and yes, I could certainly be wrong. But, hey, I have to take a stand somewhere.
3) Cleveland will pick up at least one WR who can start opposite Greg Little. Said WR (we'll call him Mr. X) and Little will develop some kind of rapport with McCoy this summer.
4) Someone figures out how to provide at least minimal pass protection on the right side of the line. One will expect that side to still be a weakness, but it has to be improved or this article is a waste of ink—ether—whatever.
5) The Browns will figure something out at safety, whether it’s a new kid, Sheldon Brown or that Eric Hagg/Usama Young steps up.
6) Between Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker, the D-line will be more consistent all the way across.
It’s quite a wish list. And of course I’ll be indulging in similar dream scenarios for all 13 opponents. Perhaps I should try clicking my heels together. Oh wait, that was Kansas. Never mind.
Given that “easy” AFC North divisional games don’t exist, the least difficult Browns’ game in 2012 should be…