The Cleveland Browns seemingly had all the hype heading into 2019, while the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers appeared to be headed into down seasons at the time, making Baker Mayfield and the Browns a hot pick to win last year AFC North.
Let's just say things did not go as planned, but now they come into 2020 with a similar (if not better) roster, and much lower expectations.
Browns Odds to Win AFC North 2020
FanDuel Sportsbook is currently giving the Browns third-best odds to take the AFC North crown at +460, but there are many signs that this year's can exceed those projections, starting with new leadership under Kevin Stefanski.
Now that last year's head coach Freddie Kitchens has been fired after a chaotic one-and-done season, former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski has been brought in to right the ship. The Browns' ownership also canned general manager John Dorsey for Andrew Berry. The duo will have to prove they are different from the long line of management before them.
Cleveland made a lot of noise last offseason, trading for Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon, while also signing troubled running back Kareem Hunt, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, safety Morgan Burnett and more. This offseason has been no less loud, yet people have learned to temper their predictions for the Browns.
They quickly scooped up TE Austin Hooper and made him the highest paid tight end in the league, adding him to Baker Mayfield's arsenal that already includes OBJ, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Nick Chubb. They also spent big on tackle Jack Conklin, to supply Baker with some blocking.
There are still some holes to fill on defense, though a Myles Garrett return from suspension would immediately help account for a couple of them, otherwise this roster actually appears to be even stronger than in 2019.
It is not only last season's failure that has lowered the Browns' status. Lamar Jackson's emergence with the Ravens also plays a role. The reigning MVP has the Baltimore Ravens at a -195 to take the division, and Ben Roethlisberger's return to a Steelers team with a revamped defense keeps them second at +320.
Whether or not we'll see the same Browns in 2020 is up for debate, but this roster has no lack of talent. Stefanski has to bring this team together and show he is the right man for the job. If he can do that, this could finally be Cleveland's season to take the AFC North once again, and maybe much more.
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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.