AFC North round-up: Predicting Baltimore Ravens, other’s 2020 record
Are the Cleveland Browns cursed? Because it sure does seem that way sometimes with how things never seem to go their way. Seriously, 2019 was supposed to be their year. The Browns were seemingly unbeatable, at least in the media’s eyes, and were supposed to waltz to an AFC North crown. Instead, they slumped to another sub-.500 record for the 12th consecutive year. What went wrong this time?
It all starts quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has shown glimpses of brilliance and then shown some of mediocrity. That simply won’t fly for a former top-overall pick and he’ll need to prove himself in his third season. Thankfully, Cleveland is committed to helping him succeed, as they added two new tackles to their offensive line and brought in Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper. Factor in Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry out wide and Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the backfield and you have the makings of an explosive offense.
Where the Browns fall short entering 2020 is on the defensive side of the ball. The injury bug has struck the team, as it will be without key contributors Mack Wilson, Greedy Williams, and Grant Delpit to start the season with Delpit out for the entire season. That’s some hefty blows to an already suspect defense.
The unit’s saving grace is Myles Garrett, who is a heavy favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. Garrett notched 10 sacks in 10 games last season before getting suspended for the remainder of the year. Now that he’s back, the Browns can rest easy knowing their pass rush won’t be a problem. Third-year man Denzel Ward will also be looking to rebound from an injury-riddled 2019 season and get back to locking down opposing receivers.
The talent is there for the Cleveland Browns to make a bit of noise in the AFC North and perhaps compete for a playoff spot in the AFC. That said, the Browns don’t have enough talent on both sides of the ball to usurp the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North and the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. If they want to be taken seriously, they’ll need to cut down on the turnovers and step up defensively.
Cleveland Browns 2020 predicted record: 8-8
AFC North record: 3-3