The Browns have their work cut out for them this season in a top-heavy AFC. But that's okay, because Cleveland is a blue-collar city and their football team reflects that. They're going to punch you in the mouth on offense and then after they score, they're going to punch you in the mouth again on defense. This roster is more stacked than the Cuyahoga County Public Library, which makes the Browns' +1600 odds to win the Super Bowl phenomenal value.
Ground and dawg pound
The Chiefs, Bills, and Ravens are the top three betting favorites at BetMGM to win the AFC. Constructing the perfect team to beat them would look a lot like what the Browns have done.
How do you stop Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs? Denzel Ward is a pretty good start. The lockdown corner is the only CB in the league who's allowed less than a 40% completion percentage in single coverage over the last three seasons. Playing at safety behind him are John Johnson III and Ronnie Harrison Jr., PFF's 3rd and 30th-ranked safeties. It's going to take a lot of magic from Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen to light up this secondary.
Lamar Jackson's legs are a problem for NFL defenses. Same with Allen. The Browns may have found a solution when they traded up to take linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the second round of this year's draft. Owusu-Koramoah ran a 4.56 40-yard dash and played safety and slot cornerback in addition to linebacker at Notre Dame. He had a first-round grade but slipped into the second after a pre-draft physical revealed a heart condition. Cleared to play by doctors, he looked like a human missile in preseason action and currently has the fourth-best odds to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Owusu-Koramoah's speed will allow him to work as an effective spy against running quarterbacks like Jackson and Allen. Throw in Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney coming off the edges, and this front seven has some very intimidating pieces.
The Browns defense has the ability to neutralize the biggest strengths of the AFC's juggernauts. The Browns offense is primed to exploit their biggest weaknesses. The Chiefs and Bills struggle against the run, which is Cleveland's bread and butter. Their offensive line is PFF's top-ranked unit, with four of its five linemen ranked in the top 10. Nick Chubb averaged 5.6 yards per carry in 2020 and is the best pure runner in the league. Kareem Hunt is the lightning to Chubb's thunder.
And then there's the Browns passing game. It started out a bit rough in 2020, but that's not all that surprising, considering they had a first-year head coach in Kevin Stefanski and no preseason action to implement their new offense. Baker Mayfield received a top-five passing grade from PFF in the second half of the season once they got things rolling. Now, he'll get Odell Beckham Jr. back after Beckham tore the ACL in his left knee last year against the Bengals.
Cleveland's path to the playoffs will be aided by the NFL's second-easiest schedule. AFC North rivals Baltimore have already sustained some key injuries with receiver Marquise Brown missing most of training camp due to a hamstring issue, rookie wideout Rashod Bateman on injured reserve after undergoing core muscle surgery, and starting running back J.K. Dobbins out for the season following an ACL tear. I like the Browns to take the division at +150 on BetMGM and love the value we're getting on +1600 to win the Super Bowl.