The Browns will begin the season at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers for the second straight year.
They’re hoping this opener and year have much better outcomes after a 21-18 loss to Pittsburgh started the winless 2017 season.
The Browns have won one season opener since returning in 1999 — 2004 against Baltimore. This will be the eighth time in franchise history they start vs. the Steelers.
“We like to open at home in front of our great fans and this will be the second season in a row we do it against the Steelers,” coach Hue Jackson said in the release Thursday night announcing the schedule. “We start with the best in our division.”
The Browns will return to prime time after being left out last year, as they host the New York Jets on Thursday night, Sept. 20, in Week 3 on NFL Network.
The Browns have the No. 1 pick and the Jets No. 3 in next week’s draft, and each is projected to take a quarterback. But veteran Tyrod Taylor is expected to start for the Browns and could face Josh McCown, who will be 39 and played quarterback for the Browns in 2015-16.
The Jets will feature running back Isaiah Crowell and receiver Terrelle Pryor. Crowell signed with the Jets in March after four seasons with the Browns, and Pryor had a 1,000-yard receiving season with the Browns in 2016.
The Browns have played the season finale against the Steelers seven of the last eight years but this season will finish at Baltimore on Dec. 30. The trip to Pittsburgh is Oct. 28, and the Ravens visit FirstEnergy Stadium on Oct. 7.
The Browns have two two-game homestands and a pair of two-game road trips but no stretch longer home or away. The bye comes Nov. 18 after 10 games.
After facing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the opener, the Browns travel to New Orleans in Week 2 to face Drew Brees and the Saints. They head to Oakland for Derek Carr and the Raiders in Week 4.
“I’m always excited about the release of our schedule,” Jackson said. “The release of your schedule is one of the final pieces to your planning for the season.
“I like our schedule. It’s balanced, it’s tough, but that’s exactly what we expected. We play some really good quarterbacks to start the season and two playoff teams out the gate.”
The Browns, 1-31 in two years under Jackson, could have a second primetime game. They travel to Denver on Saturday, Dec. 15, and the game time is to be determined.
The matchup vs. the Jets will be Cleveland’s first Thursday night home game since 2013, when it beat Buffalo 37-24. The Browns are 22-32 all time in primetime games, including 14-16 at home. They’re 3-2 at home on Thursday nights.
“We have a Thursday night early in the season and then our bye week in Week 11. That gives us two extended periods at different points in the season for our players to get some rest and recovery,” Jackson said. “That’s a benefit because it is a long season.”
The Browns play the NFC South, with the Saints, Panthers and Falcons coming off playoff appearances and contributing heavily to Cleveland’s schedule ranking as the fifth-toughest in the league.
Season tickets are available at (440) 824-3434 or toll-free at (888) 891-1999 or online at clevelandbrowns.com/tickets.
Single-game tickets will be available this summer.
Week 1: Sept. 9 – Pittsburgh Steelers – 1 p.m./CBS
Week 2: Sept. 16 – at New Orleans Saints – 1 p.m./FOX
Week 3: Sept. 20 (Thu) – New York Jets – 8:20 p.m./NFLN
Week 4: Sept. 30 – at Oakland Raiders – 4:05 p.m./FOX
Week 5: Oct. 7 – Baltimore Ravens – 1 p.m./CBS
Week 6: Oct. 14 – L.A. Chargers – 1 p.m./CBS
Week 7: Oct. 21 – at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1 p.m./FOX
Week 8: Oct. 28 – at Pittsburgh Steelers – 1 p.m./CBS
Week 9: Nov. 4 – Kansas City Chiefs – 1p.m./ CBS
Week 10: Nov. 11 – Atlanta Falcons – 1 p.m./FOX
Week 11: Nov. 18 – BYE
Week 12: Nov. 25 – at Cincinnati Bengals – 1 p.m./CBS
Week 13: Dec. 2 – at Houston Texans – 1 p.m./CBS
Week 14: Dec. 9 – Carolina Panthers – 1 p.m./FOX
Week 15: Dec. 15 (Sat) – at Denver Broncos – TBD/NFLN
Week 16: Dec. 23 – Cincinnati Bengals – 1 p.m./CBS
Week 17: Dec. 30 – at Baltimore Ravens – 1 p.m./CBS
Thursday, Aug. 9 – at New York Giants – 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 17 – Buffalo Bills – 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 23 – Philadelphia Eagles – 8 p.m. (FOX)
Thursday, Aug. 30 – at Detroit Lions – 7 p.m.