2021 Cleveland Browns Predictions with Odds to Win Super Bowl
After being the butt of all football jokes for the better part of 30 years, the Cleveland Browns finally find themselves in a position to feel good about themselves and the fan base has reason to believe they can actually do the unthinkable and win the Super Bowl. Prior to last year’s 11-5 season and Wild Card Round victory over the Steelers, the Browns’ last winning season was way back in 2007. You have to go all the way back to 1994 to find their last playoff win. Therefore, the road has been very bumpy for the Dawg Pound. But there appears to be light at the end of the dark and miserable tunnel. The Browns have tremendous talent on both sides of the ball. And if they play to their ability, should be able to contend in the AFC.
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The Browns will open up the season on September 12 with a trip to Arrowhead Stadium to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. From there, the Browns return home for two winnable games against the Texans and Bears before taking to the road again with stops at Minnesota and Los Angeles (Chargers). To me, that looks like 3-2 at best, which is fine considering from Week 6 to their bye in Week 13, they have five winnable games in those seven weeks. As of writing this, the Browns are +1600 to win the Super Bowl, +800 to win the AFC and +165 to win the AFC North.
Let’s take a look at what to expect from each unit heading into this season.
Key Players: Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb
Through three years of Baker Mayfield’s NFL career, you can say at times he’s shown flashes of brilliance and at times he’s shown immaturity and that’s led to poor on-field play. Last year, Mayfield took a step forward in terms of leadership and playing to win games rather than playing to pad his stats. Mayfield saw a slight drop in his passing yards, but the accuracy went up from 59.4 to 62.8. He managed to throw 26 touchdowns, which was just one shy of the 27 he threw in his rookie year, but he threw only eight interceptions, which was 13 less than he threw the previous year. That improvement was vital in the team’s success, and I see another great year in store for Mayfield.
The offense does not only run through Mayfield. Nick Chubb is one of the elite running backs in the league. And while he managed only 1,067 yards last season, he did that in 14 games and managed to find the endzone eight times. He’s just as vital a cog to the offense as Mayfield is as his ability to bust big runs keeps the defense’s honest and out of the Browns’ backfield.
And then you have the receivers. Odell Beckham Jr. is due for a bounce-back season after suffering a season-ending injury early on last season. He’ll be flanked on the opposite by Jarvis Landry, who had a down year in his own right as he caught just 72 balls for 840 yards and three touchdowns. The receiving corps will need to be solid as a whole if the Browns are thinking about a deep playoff run.
Defense & Special Teams
Key Players: Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, Denzel Ward
Defensively, the Browns were a disaster last season. They consistently put the offense in impossible situations by failing to keep leads and just giving up a ton of points. The defense gave up 26.2 points per game (21st overall) but was somehow stout against the run, ranking ninth with just 110.8 yards per game. Through the air is where the Browns were gashed as they ranked 22nd in passing yards allowed, giving up an average of 247.6 yards per game. The defensive will definitely need to improve on those numbers if the Browns are to be taken as serious contenders for a deep playoff run. As for special teams, the Browns will rely on Cody Parkey to kick extra points and field goals, and to say it’s an adventure every time he takes the field would be an understatement. The Browns will need him to be solid to avoid losing games by a measly point or two.
The best thing the Browns got going for them this year is the fact that the AFC North division should go to either them or Baltimore. Both the Steelers and Bengals will be out of the mix by November. And if the Browns can stay the hell out of their own way, they can make some noise this year. The offense should be humming along this year, while the defense has the pieces to be a really good team. They ran into the Chiefs last season in the playoffs. If they can avoid them in the postseason this year, the Browns could make some noise.
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