It was the kind of season Cleveland Browns fans have waited a long time to enjoy. Now it’s up to the team to sustain the success of an 11-win season and playoff appearance. It had been nearly two decades since the Browns last made the playoffs and nearly as long since they had a winning record. The hype surrounding them started in 2019 but it took another coaching change and the development of a young core to bring the results.
The entire starting offensive unit returns this year led by Baker Mayfield. The QB also has another weapon with the return of Odell Beckham. A revamped defense is expected to be better making the Browns a legitimate contender in the AFC North. A difficult schedule is the only thing that stands in the way of them reaching their projected win total of 10.5.
Cleveland Browns 2021 Regular Season Win Total Odds
Browns Over 10.5 Wins -111
Browns Under 10.5 Wins -105
(Odds provided by BookMaker.eu August 10, 2021)
The Browns can’t expect just to show up and win games. While they made tremendous strides under Coach of the Year Kevin Stefanski last season the goal is to get better. That’s something that hasn’t happened in Cleveland in a long time so there is a history. The Browns followed their two previous double-digit win seasons by totaling just nine victories in the following seasons. It’s much easier to have one successful year rather than a period of sustained success, just ask the Jacksonville Jaguars about that. The one thing the Browns do have is continuity. Every starter on the offensive side returns for the second season under Stefanski.
The offense figures to be as good and even better than it was in 2020 with the continued development of Mayfield. He completed nearly 63 percent of his passes with 26 touchdowns and only eight interceptions in 16 games. He tossed just one pick over the last nine games. One of the top ground attacks took pressure off Mayfield and the duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is back after combining for over 1,900 yards and 18 touchdowns. The club made an effort to shore up the offensive line ahead of last season and it worked. The Browns now have one of the top units in the NFL.
No lead was safe last season sparking an overhaul on the defensive side. The Browns ranked 21st in points allowed and 25th against the run. They also struggled to get off the field placing 23rd in third-down defense and 31st on fourth-down attempts. They made up for it though with a positive turnover margin, but the group needed new pieces. The biggest name is probably Jadeveon Clowney, who joins Myles Garrett up front giving the Browns a pair of former No. 1 overall picks.
2021 Cleveland Browns Schedule
Week 1: at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, September 12, 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 2: vs. Houston Texans, Sunday, September 19, 1 p.m. ET
Week 3: vs. Chicago Bears, Sunday, September 26, 1 p.m. ET
Week 4: at Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, October 3, 1 p.m. ET
Week 5: at Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, October 10, 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 6: vs. Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, October 17, 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 7: vs. Denver Broncos, Thursday, October 21, 8:20 p.m. ET (FOX/NFLN)
Week 8: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, October 31, 1 p.m. ET
Week 9: at Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, November 7, 1 p.m. ET
Week 10: at New England Patriots, Sunday, November 14, 1 p.m. ET
Week 11: vs. Detroit Lions, Sunday, November 21, 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 12: at Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, November 28, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Week 13: BYE
Week 14: vs. Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, December 12, 1 p.m. ET
Week 15: vs. Las Vegas Raiders, Sat./Sun., December 18/19, TBA
Week 16: at Green Bay Packers, Saturday, December 25, 4:30 p.m. ET (FOX/NFLN)
Week 17: at Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, January 3, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Week 18: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, January 9, 1 p.m. ET
The schedule figures to be one roadblock in the quest to cash the over on this futures bet. The AFC North was a gauntlet last season and figures to be just as brutal. The Browns won 11 games tied with Baltimore one back of division champ Pittsburgh. Those three figure to be in the hunt for wins again and the Cincinnati Bengals are expected to improve with a full season of Joe Burrow. We’ll get a look at how good the Browns are out of the gate with a season-opening matchup against two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City. After that there are six winnable games with four of those coming at home, but the Browns will be a marked team after last season.
Cleveland Browns 2021 Regular Season Win Prediction
Our pick: Cleveland Browns UNDER 10.5 Wins
Can the Browns continue their ascent on offense behind Mayfield? That’s the biggest issue on that side of the football, though the former No. 1 pick got more comfortable in the system as the season progressed. And for the first time in years there is some cohesion with a number of starters and the coaching staff intact. The defense needs to be better and it looks like the moves improve the group overall, but maintaining success is something this organization hasn’t been able to do.
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