2021 Cleveland Browns Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV Info

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2021

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass during the second half of an NFL divisional round football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Now what?

That's the biggest question surrounding the Cleveland Browns after they finally broke a playoff drought that dated back to 2002. 

Not only did the Browns make the playoffs last season, but they also defeated the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card round once they got there before ducking out in the next game against the eventual AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs.

With a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. back in the lineup, Baker Mayfield coming off the best year of his career and Myles Garrett anchoring the defense, expectations are again high in Cleveland.

Here is a look at the 2021 schedule the team will have to navigate as it strives for a first Super Bowl title in franchise history.


Browns 2021 Schedule

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Jason Behnken/Associated Press

One thing is clear about Cleveland's 2021 slate: It's going to be under the national spotlight.

In addition to the always-notable division games against the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, the Browns play some of the league's most prominent franchises in the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs.

The secondary is also going to have its work cut out with matchups against Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson and Ben Roethlisberger.

How that secondary, which will benefit from Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney rushing the passer, holds up against so many formidable quarterbacks will likely determine Cleveland's fate. After all, its offense figures to get better with Beckham returning as the No. 1 option and Mayfield playing with another year of experience under his belt.

If the defense is even an average unit compared to the rest of the league, look for the Browns to make the playoffs once again.


Pivotal Matchups

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

It's simple but true: The only way the Browns are going to win the AFC North is with success against the Steelers and Ravens.

The 2015 Cincinnati Bengals were the last team to win the division outside of Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and they went 3-1 in those four head-to-head showdowns.

That will likely mean Mayfield having to outperform Jackson and Roethlisberger multiple times this season, but that is also something the 2018 No. 1 overall pick will be expected to do if he is going to live up to his draft status as the franchise signal-caller.

Outside of the games against the Steelers and Ravens, a showdown with the Los Angeles Chargers jumps out.

Cleveland finished in third place in the AFC North last year but still made the playoffs as a wild-card team. Assuming the Chargers finish below Mahomes and the Chiefs, they figure to be among the Browns' toughest competitors for AFC wild-card positioning if Herbert continues on his current trajectory after winning Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The young quarterback battle between Mayfield and Herbert could be among the most intriguing in the league for the foreseeable future, and this year's clash may have major playoff implications.