The Cleveland Browns hype train looks like it’s just going to keep on rolling either until it crashes or it lands in the Super Bowl. Former Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas, who recently officially joined the NFL Network team, said that he was looking forward to covering the team in the Super Bowl later this year, for example. He previously predicted that they would go 10-6 and win the AFC North.
Add Adam Schein, also of the NFL Network, to the list of those who believe the Browns will win the division. In fact, he believes quarterback Baker Mayfield will be one of the best players in the league this season, an MVP candidate. And the Pittsburgh Steelers will finish third in the AFC North, behind the Baltimore Ravens.
“Now, I’ll admit that I didn’t initially love the shotgun marriage with Freddie Kitchens as the head coach”, he wrote. “But it should help Mayfield’s growth. The 24-year-old quarterback told me on my SiriusXM Radio show that he wanted Kitchens. And given how Mayfield performed in the back half of last season, with Kitchens as his offensive coordinator following the firing of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley, I get it”.
Mayfield was on the bench for the first couple of weeks of the season last year, sitting behind Tyrod Taylor, whom they acquired via trade prior to last year’s draft, but he subbed in during an injury a few weeks in and led the Browns to a comeback victory, their first win since late in the 2016 season.
The Browns would only win two games and draw once in the first half of the season, however, before Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were let go. They would win five of the next seven games, threatening to post a winning record before they lost late to the Ravens in Week 17. That also cost the Steelers a playoff spot.
“I’ve yet to even mention Odell Beckham Jr., an incredible addition to Mayfield’s arsenal”, Schein added. “With Beckham joining his old LSU teammate, Jarvis Landry, Cleveland could boast the best receiving corps in the NFL. The backfield duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will be lethal down the stretch”.
He continued to say that Mayfield “has the ability, leadership and swagger needed to make sure the Browns live up to the hype. And they will, by winning the AFC North”. In contrast, he said that the continued presence of Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh means that the drama is still there.
Of course, none of that stopped them from making the postseason for five years in a row prior to last season, when they only narrowly missed, and that was primarily due to the defense giving up leads in the fourth quarter. But hey, I just watch the games.