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NFL: Three reasons why the Cleveland Browns will win the AFC North in 2021

Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs
Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs
Walter Sharp
ANALYST
Modified 21 Jan 2021
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The Cleveland Browns are coming off the most successful season they've had since the franchise rejoined the NFL. Cleveland finished the 2020 NFL regular season with a 11-5 record, and the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The team lost a heartbreaking game to the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Divisional Round, but this successful season opened many fans' eyes.

The Browns offense is filled with promising weapons. Star QB Baker Mayfield took a huge step forward in his development this year. In the backfield, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are dynamic threats with the ball in their hands. As for the passing game, WR Jarvis Landry has broken out of his shell, and he became the Browns' number one option with Odell Beckham Jr. out with an injury.

On the sideline, Kevin Stefanski looks like a head coach that will be around for a long time. Though he was unable to participate in the Wild Card Game, his Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in a shocking contest. Then, the team came within a touchdown of beating the defending Super Bowl Champions. Their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs should only motivate the Browns heading into next season.

Here's a thorough look at the top three reasons why the Cleveland Browns will win the AFC North next eason.


3) Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will lead the Browns to the top of the NFL in rushing yards

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns

In the 2020 NFL regular season, Nick Chubb rushed for 1,067 yards and 12 touchdowns. Kareem Hunt added 841 yards and 6 touchdowns of his own. Together, this duo gives the Browns one of the most explosive backfields in the NFL.

Hunt gives the Browns a great pass-catching running back. Hunt recorded 304 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns this past season. He finished ahead of Browns tight end David Njoku in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns.

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Meanwhile, Nick Chubb emerged as one of the best running backs in the league this year. He recorded three straight games with over 100 rushing years, and his 12 touchdowns rank fourth in the league. Chubb and Hunt will aim to continue their combined success for the Browns next year.


2) The Cleveland Browns will have a better defense next year

Indianapolis Colts  v Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts v Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns will probably prioritize their defense this offseason. If the team enters next season with a stronger defensive unit, they could hold their own with the Chiefs and other top teams.

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The Browns will have 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. All of the team's primary positional needs for the draft are defensive players.

This draft class isn't loaded with elite pass-rushers. So the Browns could opt to pick a cornerback in the first rounds. Cleveland has been linked to top CB prospect Shaun Wade.

Cleveland will have four picks in the first three rounds. So the team could potentially add multiple star players to their defense with these selections. The Browns' defense was exposed in the playoffs, but they might feature an imposing unit next season.


1) Browns QB Baker Mayfield will be the best in the AFC North

Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs
Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs
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Baker Mayfield is coming off the best season he has had in three years with the Cleveland Browns. Mayfield cut down on his interceptions, and he set a new career-high with his 95.9 passer rating. He was a crucial element to the Browns' success all season long.

Browns receivers Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins both had solid seasons. Equipped with several dynamic weapons, Mayfield looked like the star player who electrified fan throughout his collegiate career.

Mayfield might be the most criticized NFL quarterback. In the 2021 NFL season, he will silence his doubters and lead the Cleveland Browns to the division title. 2020 was only the beginning of the Browns' transformation, and they'll shock the world again next season.

Published 21 Jan 2021, 01:43 IST
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