The Duel

Browns Fans Are Not Going to Like ESPN's 2020 NFL Season Projections

By michael obermuller
Can Baker Mayfield rebound and lead the Browns to the playoffs after a disappointing second season in the NFL?
Can Baker Mayfield rebound and lead the Browns to the playoffs after a disappointing second season in the NFL? / Norm Hall/Getty Images
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With the NFL Draft in the books and free agency reaching the latter stages, most rosters are starting to take shape. That means it's officially time for projections, and ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) simulated 20,000 possible outcomes for the 2020 season. Wait for it... the Kansas City Chiefs are still Super Bowl favorites.

One thing is for certain, Cleveland Browns fans won't like their outlook, which has them in a similar position as 2019.

Last season the Browns finished 6-10 and third in the AFC North behind the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. They also sit third in ESPN's FPI projections, but with a greater chance of making the playoffs than a year ago.

It's hard to argue that Cleveland has not gotten better this offseason. They fortified their offensive line with brand new bookend tackles, free agent acquisition Jack Conklin and first-round pick Jedrick Wills Jr. That being said, Baker Mayfield should be very pleased by this, as he was under fire all last season.

The Browns also gave Baker a new weapon at tight end with the Austin Hooper signing. This unit now includes Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper and David Njoku. The defense got younger, with rookies Grant Delpit (S), Jordan Elliott (DT) and Jacob Phillips (LB) hoping to claim key roles in camp.

Of course, the competition is stiff, with Lamar Jackson's Ravens are as worrisome an opponent as ever, and the return of Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. Much of the Browns success (or lack there of) will be determined by new head coach Kevin Stefanski, and whether or not he can get this franchise on track.

ESPN has Cleveland at a 46 percent chance of making the playoffs with a slight improvement to 8.2 projected wins. Pittsburgh is at 8.8 and 58 percent, with Baltimore at 11.0 and 92 percent. Considering recent history, this projection is still a sign that times are changing in Cleveland, but for Browns fans nothing may satisfy but a playoff berth, and there should be no reason that is unattainable.


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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael Obermuller also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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