The Cleveland Browns were a popular pick to win the AFC North before the start of the 2019 regular season, but it didn’t play out that way. Expectations surrounding Cleveland rose following Baker Mayfield’s explosive arrival in 2018, which helped turn an 0-16 team into a 7-8 potential AFC North contender.
But instead of building on the previous year’s success, Cleveland took a step down to finish 6-10. Accounting for their disappointing finish, the NFL division winner odds are giving the Browns the 3rd-best odds to win the West.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield is now entering his third season under center, and this is a huge year for the gunslinger. The offense is loaded with talented playmakers, and the defense is full of young future superstars.
Cleveland has not been a football powerhouse over the last two decades, but this team looks poised to turn things around. The Browns will need to find a way to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens if they are going to climb up the standings in 2020.
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Cleveland Browns 2020 Schedule
|Week 1||Sept. 13||at Baltimore Ravens|
|Week 2||Sept. 17||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Week 3||Sept. 27||Washington Football Team|
|Week 4||Oct. 5||at Dallas Cowboys|
|Week 5||Oct. 11||Indianapolis Colts|
|Week 6||Oct. 18||at Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Week 7||Oct. 25||at Cincinnati Bengals|
|Week 8||Nov. 1||Las Vegas Raiders|
|Week 9||Nov. 5||BYE WEEK|
|Week 10||Nov. 15||Houston Texans|
|Week 11||Nov. 22||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Week 12||Nov. 29||at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Week 13||Dec. 6||at Tennessee Titans|
|Week 14||Dec. 14||Baltimore Ravens|
|Week 15||Dec. 20||at New York Giants|
|Week 16||Dec. 27||at New York Jets|
|Week 17||Jan. 3||Pittsburgh Steelers|
The Cleveland Browns have a pair of prime-time games on their 2020 schedule, and both of them are against division rivals. The Browns will host the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football in week two, and will also host the Baltimore Ravens at home in week 14 on Monday Night Football.
The schedule looks tough on paper for the Cleveland Browns, and that’s worsened by the fact that their division is one of the toughest in the NFL. Cleveland could make a big move in the middle of the season as they will play three straight games at home from week 8-week 11.
Last year’s history
As mentioned, the Browns finished the 2019 season with just six regular-season wins, which resulted in head coach Freddie Kitchens being fired. They finished the season by losing four of their last five games but, by and large, the whole season was a major disappointment.
They got off to a poor 2-6 start that put them in the hole right away. They then had a mid-season rebound, going 4-1 through the next five games. None of that would ultimately matter as ended the year with a three-game losing streak. Injuries played a major role for the Browns in 2019, as they do for most NFL teams, but they still fell short in a number of areas.
The franchise is now getting ready to enter the Kevin Stefanski era. And for the second season in a row, Brown’s fans are setting a high bar. The preseason NFL conference winner odds would ask them to take a breathe, as they have 16-1 odds, which is lower than eight other AFC teams. Not a bad bet for Browns fans, though!
The good news is that Baker Mayfield threw 22 touchdown passes a season ago, but he also threw 21 interceptions. The young quarterback has struggled with accuracy since taking over the job, but he does have plenty of talent. Mayfield threw for over 3,800 yards, which was 14th in the league. Mayfield’s presence on the Browns has revitalized the franchise. NFL betting players can fully expect the third-year quarterback to solidify himself as the face of the franchise in 2020.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, but he has struggled throughout his career as well. OBJ caught just 74 passes for 1,035 yards a season ago, but the team was expecting more out of their star. A new offensive-minded head coach could lead to a much bigger 2020 for the talented wide receiver.
Garrett played in just 10 games after serving a multiple-game suspension last season, but he was extremely productive when on the field. Garrett registered 10 sacks, and he is one of the best defensive players in the NFL. The Browns will need to be solid on defense to make up for a lack of offense. In case you need a refresher as to why Garrett was suspended, you can check out the clip below.
New additions (trade/FA/Draft)
The Browns selected tackle OT Jedrick Wills with the 10th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Wills will offer plenty of protection for Baker Mayfield, which should lead to a better offensive output. They then selected safety Grant Delpit out of LSU with their second-round selection.
With the 10th overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…
Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama pic.twitter.com/DQdcOpG3jE
— PFF (@PFF) April 24, 2020
The biggest splash that the Browns made in free agency was signing tight end Austin Hooper from the Falcons. Hooper has been extremely productive during his time in the NFL, and he should provide a huge boost to the Cleveland offense.
The Browns also signed offensive tackle Jack Conklin from the Tennessee Titans, and he will be an anchor on the offensive line. Cleveland needed plenty of help on offense, and they got it during the free agency period.
Almost all of the losses suffered by the Cleveland Browns in free agency came on the defensive side of the ball. The Browns were able to replace a number of these players, but it will still miss having a few of them on the roster.
Perhaps the biggest loss is at the linebacker position as Christian Kirksey agreed to a deal with Green Bay Packers. Kirksey was a major part of the team, and his absence will be felt. Joe Schobert was another linebacker leaving the team, which puts the Brows a little thin at that position.
There were some other players that won’t be around in 2020, but the majority of the roster, and the biggest names, remain on the team.
The AFC North Division should be one of the toughest in the NFL this season, led by the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore finished with the best record in the AFC a season ago, and they look to be loaded again.
Cleveland was expected to be a favorite in the AFC North a season ago, but they had a disappointing campaign. The Browns will be looking to turn things around and make a run at the AFC North Division title this season.
Cleveland Browns Offense
The Browns offense failed to put up any impressive numbers in 2019. The running game, led by Pro Bowler Nick Chubb, was the more dominant aspect. With an average of 118 rushing yards per game, Cleveland finished 12th in the league in rushing. The passing game averaged 222.6 yards per game, pegging them as the 20th best unit in the NFL. Scoring-wise the Browns ranked 22nd, putting up 20.9 per outing.
Mayfield will be looking to take a step forward in 2020. Despite finishing his rookie season with an eye-catching 93.7 passer rating, Mayfield finished last year’s action at only 78.8.
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry earned Pro Bowl honors. That’s great for Landry, but the team also needs to get more out of OBJ this upcoming season.
Cleveland Browns Defense
Defensively, the Browns were great against the pass but terrible against the run. Cleveland’s opponents struggled to earn 216.9 passing yards per game, which gave the Browns the 7th best pass defense in the NFL. However, teams were also able to earn nearly 145 rushing yards per game against Cleveland’s 30th-ranked rush defense.
To help remedy their defensive woes, Cleveland brought in 10 defensive players through free agency as well as the draft. We’ll have to wait and see how these signings playout for the Browns.
What is the Cleveland Browns’ all-time record?
Who owns the Cleveland Browns?
Jimmy Haslam currently owns the Cleveland Browns.
How many Super Bowls have the Cleveland Browns won?
4 (2011, 1997, 1968, 1967)
Who is the quarterback for the Cleveland Browns?