For starters, yes, you did read that title right. The Browns are arguably the team that have done the most this off-season starting with signing Kareem Hunt and most recently trading for Odell Beckham Jr. The Browns have been a laughing stock in the NFL for a very long time. Having a multitude of starting QB’s come and go, becoming the only the 2nd team in NFL history to go 0-16 during a full regular season, and front office changes have been just a few low-lights of the most recent years.
Is it so far-fetched to peg the Browns as Super Bowl favorites following their recent trades and signings? The path to the playoffs is fairly clear. They are a better team on paper then all of their fellow teams in the AFC North. The Bengals have had almost as bad luck as the Browns with their front office woes and QB situation with the biggest difference being they have stuck with Andy Dalton through the good seasons and the bad ones. The Steelers are coming off a season in which they missed the playoffs, and also lost two key players in Le’Veon Bell (signed with the Jets) and Antonio Brown (traded to the Raiders). On paper, the Ravens are their only real competition to win the AFC North. Lamar Jackson had a good ending to the regular season, but looked somewhat lost until the very end of his playoff debut. They also lost S Eric Weddle, but made up for that by signing Earl Thomas.
It isn’t a stretch to say that the Browns will have one of the most exciting offenses to watch next season. QB Baker Mayfield played very well during his rookie season, and with more weapons at his disposal, he should only improve. The defense is what kept them in the race for the AFC North last year, with their secondary being a surprising bright spot. With the improved offense, as long as the defense plays as good or better than they did last season, the Browns are not a bad choice to win the AFC North, and potentially represent the entire AFC in Super Bowl LIV.
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