Cleveland Browns 2011 Schedule: Three Things to Love and Three Things to Hate

Chris MarkochContributor IIApril 20, 2011

Cleveland Browns 2011 Schedule: Three Things to Love and Three Things to Hate

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    The schedule is set, now all we need are the playersPaul Spinelli/Getty Images

    Seeing the NFL release the 2011 schedule at least makes you feel that all is not lost as the lockout continues.

    So with as much optimism as we can muster, how does this schedule look for the Browns?

    It’s ranked 21st out of 32. And while that’s a significant improvement over last year, there are still some causes for concern.

    This slideshow will help you decide for yourself how favorable our schedule will be.

1. Things to Love/Hate: National Exposure

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    Reason to Love It: On October 16, the Browns will play their first game that’s not at 1:00 ET since our December 2009 upset of the Steelers (see video clip). That alone is cause for celebration.

    The Browns will play three times in the 4:00 time slot and once as part of the NFL Network’s Thursday night national TV broadcast.

    While some of that is a function of playing West Coast teams, it still is a chance for a young team to get national exposure.

    Reason to Hate It: The NFL Network broadcast is against Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. While not the house of horrors that Three Rivers Stadium was, it would have been nice to see another opponent here.

    Also, we have to go to the Bay Area twice in October (more on that later). I guess we should be careful what we wish for.

2. Things to Love/Hate: Timing of Our Divisional Games

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    Fans will have to wait until December for the division to be decidedJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Reason to Love It: I like starting the season at home against the Bengals. I like ending the season at home against the Steelers.

    Reason to Hate It: After that first week matchup against Cincy, we don’t play inside the division again until Nov. 27. Seriously? We don’t see the Ravens or Steelers until December. And we play five out of our last six games against division rivals.

    That may be what the NFL wants, and it will certainly decide the division, but I’m not sure if that’s a great thing for a team that may need some wins down the stretch.

3. Things to Love/Hate: Balance of Home/Road Games

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    This will be a familar site to the Browns in October.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Reason to Love It: The Browns play three out of their first four games at home. And with those opponents being Cincinnati, Miami, and Tennessee, there’s a reasonable chance that we could get off to a hot start.

    Reason to Hate It: We only have one home game in December. And, we travel three times to the West Coast, including a brutal stretch in October that sends the Browns to Oakland on Oct. 16, then home for a week to play Seattle, and then back out to the Bay Area to play the 49ers.

    Coast-to-coast trips are tough enough. To have to do it twice in the span of three weeks will be a test.

    An NFL schedule must be a nightmare to put together, but playing seven of our last 12 on the road certainly raises some red flags for me.