Browns open as favorites to win the AFC North

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The Browns have arrived.

They’ve still won nothing of consequence. They haven’t been to the playoffs in 17 years and counting. But they’ve arrived.

Vegas knows it. Via ESPN.com, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has made the Browns +140 favorites to win the AFC North.

The Steelers are close behind at +160 (i.e., bet $100, win $160). The Ravens have +250 odds to win the division.

This places even more pressure on the Browns, who went winless in 2017 and won only once in 2016. The bar is now high, and the Steelers will be able to find plenty of motivation in the notion that no one believes in them. That could fuel the Steelers to do more than anyone expects them to do in 2019.

But that’s for down the road. For now, the Browns and their fans can enjoy something that hasn’t happened since the team re-entered the league 20 years ago: The Browns actually are expected to be successful next season.

72 responses to “Browns open as favorites to win the AFC North

  1. Please be aware of what one of the great football minds of the 21st century once said before making any predictions:

    ‘We won the offseason ! I would challenge any team !’

    Rex Ryan Head Coach and Senior BS Officer-Buffalo Bills June 2016

  2. Still gotta play the games. The Steelers and the Rats aren’t going to roll over for the Browns. Still, barring injury, the Browns look to be a nightmare for DCs to gameplan for. You double OBJ, you get Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Antonio Calloway matchups, AND OBJ has always been double covered. Then, if defenses get on their heels, there’s Nick Chubb. After eight games it’s Chubb and Hunt. Higgins, if they can hang on to him, is reliable. Duke Johnson.

    But let’s face it, in the NFL it all comes down to coaching. Can Freddie be the guy? I believe he has the goods, but, gotta play the games. Nevertheless, for a Browns fan, it’s fun to be looking forward more to the season than just the draft as we usually do. This is a new feeling. I hope it works out, because if ever a fan base deserves to be thrown a bone, it’s us die-hards in Cleveland.

  3. This isn’t hard to fathom at all. While the article focuses on what they didn’t do in 2016 and 2017, it doesn’t really mention what they did do in 2018….win. Take Hue out of the equation and they likely would have won the division last year.

    Even if you don’t want to give the credit to the Browns, it is hard to miss that the AFCN is in decline. No one even talks about the Bengals, and the Steelers and the Ravens had to come down to a few plays to decide who goes – and neither was particularly tough. I had my money on the Browns months ago – pretty much when Hue left the building.

  4. Love what CLV is doing but gotta have chemistry first with new players.
    I see Pittsburgh barely winning division. Cleveland, I think they’ll be in chase for first wildcard. But I might be wrong and underestimated this team. I’m a Ram fan so I know losing before Mcvay so rooting for CLV to make postseason.

  5. As a Steelers fan, I’m thrilled. Should make our players and coaches hungry. If not, then it’s time to make long-term changes.

  6. Well isn’t that cute, the Browns are AFC North paper champions. Freddie will have to buck tradition though and shut down that factory for good.

  7. Don’t forget about the ravens we are defending AFC north champs , Cleveland won March , that’s why they play the games

  8. As much as I would like to see the Steelers continue to crash and burn, they seem to have gotten rid of the biggest issues player-wise. While those issues all go back to Tomlin in the first place, if he is able to keep the ship at least somewhat afloat for a year I could see it as addition by subtraction.

    While the Browns are getting hype, we’ve seen most dream teams don’t fully meet reality. I definitely see them as improved and most likely a playoff team if not division winner, but sticking a bunch of random pieces together and hoping they’ll gel isn’t always the recipe for success.

  9. I’m cautiously optimistic. I just hope Kitchens can lead that locker room. Big jump from position coach to head coach.

  10. Now comes the hard part. Winning when you are favored. That’s something new for them as a team.

  11. Im not a bettor…but if they are favored wouldn’t you have to bet more to win. Since they ARE EXPECTED TO WIN. ie:browns +140… You gotta put up 140 to win 100.

  12. Don’t fall for it Browns. Remain hungry.Be humble. Vince Young labeled his Eagles’ team the “Dream Team” and looked what happened. Let the football playing speak for itself.

  13. The shocking thing is the Steelers having better odds than the Ravens based on how the offseason has gone in Pittsburgh.

    No matter how it shakes out… it should be far more entertaining than this division has been the last decade.

  14. That could fuel the Steelers to do more than anyone expects them to do in 2019.

    ——–

    The Steelers would need to win the games that on paper they should win…..but always seem to lose.

    At the end of the season, that will be the difference.

  15. I’m a Viking fan, but I’m happy for the fans of Cleveland. They’ve waited two decades for a team that’s relevant, and they finally have one. I hope the Brown win the AFC and then lose to the Vikes in the Super Bowl. Congrats to Cleveland on finally turning things around. Now go out and win a bunch of ball games, Browns.

  16. Like Jacksonville, you get to draft in the top 5 to 10 every year in the draft for a decade, the law of averages has to weigh in your favor and you are finally decent. We’ll see…

  17. Should have kept Gregg Williams. A very unwise decision. Don’t get your hopes up too high.

  18. I’m interested to see what they do now with adding so much talent. They have been bad for so long, I kinda want to see them turn it around.

  19. Any thinking person knows that off season predictions are useless. No matter how good a team looks on paper, you still have to play the games. If the writers and pundits want to make predictions, fine. But if you’re a Browns fan you know that there are games to play and that injuries, and missed penalties, and last minute drives, and fumbles and more last minute drives and interceptions happen and, and… oh crap, now I’m depressed.

  20. One of the best things to happen to the Steelers since the season ended. Now they won’t go into the 2019 season thinking they have it sewn up before the first game is played. Browns look great on paper, but so have the Steelers many times before. We all saw what that gets you, zip. Should be an interesting AFCN next year. Can’t wait!

  21. Good for the Browns. I have no stake in the battle for the AFC North but would welcome a changing of the guard. And the Browns certainly deserve it. Still, these silly preseason champ things mean nothing. The Browns will have to go out and take it from the Ravens and Steelers on the field which has always been easier said than done.

  22. Amazing how all of the haters cannot even fathom the Cleveland Browns returning to relevance. Couldn’t agree more in respect to having to let it play out on the field. It doesn’t matter how good your roster is, injuries happen, and you still have to play the games. The bigger picture here is, and the biggest reason that the AFC North should be concerned about the Browns, is that they finally have a solid and competent front office that is extremely adept in the art of of evaluating talent and building a strong organization. GO BROWNS…. and long rule John Dorsey & Company!

  23. Let’s see….they play the Ravens (with a running QB) twice. They play the Steelers (with a gutless coach) twice. They play the Bengals (with Andy Dalton) twice. It’s not that far-fetched to win that division, even with a losing record.

  24. On paper it definitely looks like the Browns have loaded up to win now. But there are some big question marks that won’t get answered until this plays out into December:
    1. Can all these personalities (OBJ, Mayfield, Landry, Hunt, etc) come together. How will they handle adversity?
    2. How will Kitchens do as a first time coach with all these big personalities?
    3. New defensive coordinator and lots of changes.
    4. The pressure of winning out and meeting expectations.
    5. Offensive line.
    6. OBJ has been injured a lot the last few years he has to stay healthy.

    I’m a longtime Steelers fan and, being honest, it really feels like the Browns are poised to lead the division for years to come with the Steelers and Ravens fighting for a wildcard. But many teams who win free agency fall apart during the season.

  25. Congratulations Browns! You’re the paper champs of the North! Don’t pack your bags for Disney World just yet. I’ll believe it when it happens.

  26. Everyone is alluding to the Browns going crazy in free agency….
    The Browns big acquisitions were Odell Beckham and Olivier Vernon… VIA TRADE….
    their ‘big’ free agency acquistions? Sheldon Richardson, $12.5 million, Demetrius Harris, $3.5 million, Adarius Taylor, $2.5 million, Eric Kush, $1.875 million, and Kendall Lamm, $1.7 million… Browns cap space is currently $36.7 million, Bengals: $30.4, Ravens: $25.3, Steelers: $9.6

  27. Good for Browns fans. Whether or not they win the division or make the playoffs as a wild card they should be a much more fun team to watch this season

  28. So who is going to get blamed when they go 6-10. Like Chris Carter taught us, we all need a fall guy.

    Cincinnati twice, Atlanta, Denver by a point with Case Keenum at QB, and Carolina with a QB who could basically throw 10 yards in a downfield passing offense. This is what all the optimism is based on, lol. This should end well.

  29. Browns fans being set up for a big let down. Gregg Williams led the Browns resurgence last year. Freddie Kitchens is a good Offensive Coordinator but is Not Head Coach material. Look for this team to take a step back this year. Big mistake not to give the HC job to Gregg Williams!

  30. Barring any major injury, they should be. The Ravens won the division last season with virtually non-existing passing game and a rookie QB? I say the division is wide open and the Browns on paper have the best team.

  31. Browns were no joke last year, but they gotta play the games to prove they are a true contender, especially at this point. Reality check: The last time the Browns won the division was in 1989, when it was the AFC Central. (And technically, that was the Ravens.)

    Looking forward to a good season, glad the Browns are back. Both times the Ravens won the Superbowl, nobody had them doing anything, so my advice is pace yourselves.

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