The Cleveland Browns can never seem to catch a break.
A year after finishing another disappointing 4-12 campaign, the Browns were "rewarded" with the second-hardest schedule in the league, according to TheRedZone.org. Their opponents will come into 2012 with a 135-121 record from a year ago.
The biggest issue for Cleveland is the teams in its own division. Last year, all three of the other AFC North squads made the playoffs, as the Browns failed to notch a single divisional win.
Cleveland's 2012 Regular-Season Schedule
Week 2, Sept. 16: Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 3, Sept. 23: Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 4, Sept. 27: Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens, 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL NetworkWeek 5, Oct. 7: Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants, 1 p.m. ET, FOXWeek 6, Oct. 14: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 7, Oct. 21: Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 8, Oct. 28: San Diego Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 9, Nov. 4: Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 10, Nov. 11: BYEWeek 11, Nov. 18: Cleveland Browns vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m. ET, FOXWeek 12, Nov. 25: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 13, Dec. 2: Cleveland Browns vs. Oakland Raiders, 4:15 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 14, Dec. 9: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 15, Dec. 16: Washington Redskins vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 16, Dec. 23: Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBSWeek 17, Dec. 30: Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The list of QBs the Browns will be facing is incredibly daunting. The second-best pass defense from a year ago will play against Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III (most likely), Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.
Aside from RGIII and Luck, all of those guys have done damage in the postseason. While the offense will certainly have to play better for the Browns to have a shot at an 8-8 record, the pass defense has to pick up where it left off in 2011.
Considering that pass defense played against Blaine Gabbert, Kerry Collins, Chad Henne, John Skelton, Jason Campbell and Charlie Whitehurst a year ago—it's going to be a tall task.
Most Pivotal Matchup: Week 6 vs. Cincinnati
Last year, the Bengals beat the Browns in Round 1 of the Battle of Ohio when they caught Cleveland napping at the wheel. That Week 1 loss really set the tone for another forgettable season at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
With the Ravens and Steelers both expected to be in contention for the division title once again, the Browns have to take care of business at home against the Bengals to ensure they actually get on the board with a divisional win in 2012.