Cleveland Browns 2021 Season Preview and Projected Outlook
When was the last time you heard the words Cleveland Browns and Super Bowl contenders mentioned in the same sentence? Depending on your age, probably never because the team has been so bad for a long time. 2020 will go down as a year full of mixed emotions, both good and bad.
It was also the year that the Browns were finally able to put everything together and make a run to the postseason. Cleveland’s 2020 playoff appearance was the first time that team had qualified for the tournament since 2001.
In 2020, the Browns not only qualified for the playoffs, but they also advanced to the AFC Divisional round and almost knocked off the eventual Super Bowl LV representative, the Kansas City Chiefs. Based on the achievements from last year, the Browns are picked by many to be Super Bowl contenders in the AFC. Cleveland has been mentioned as a significant player in the conference in just about every mainstream media publication.
The Browns have a critical ingredient that allows teams to make a deep run throughout the playoffs. The element of having a versatile rushing attack led by Nick Chubb and his fellow teammate Kareem Hunt will pay big dividends during the cold months of November through January. That is the period where a strong running game is going to go a long way in the playoffs. As for the Browns are just not looking to qualify for the postseason; the team has aspirations of playing in the Super Bowl in 2021.
Selecting High in the NFL Draft Finally Paid Off for the Browns
One of the benefits of being so bad such as the Cleveland Browns were, is that an NFL franchise will have an opportunity to select upper echelon talent in the NFL Draft.
The Browns were in that position on numerous occasions. Things started to shift the Browns’ way when the team selected Myles Garrett, number one overall in 2017, followed by quarterback Baker Mayfield at the same spot.
Outside of Mayfield and Garrett, the Browns have been able to find solid gems within the drafts 2017 thru 2019. The 2018 draft has turned out to be one of the Browns’ best selection of picks. Players that came into the fold in 2018 were Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, and Denzel Ward.
The Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have shown everyone that when a team has the right nucleus, such as the correct draft picks, quarterback position situated, and viable free agents, the franchise can become stable going forward.
With numerous uncertainties with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns may only have to deal with the Baltimore Ravens for supremacy in the AFC North division. The Bengals will be better, but they are still going to be a work in progress. Even if the Browns do not win the division but qualify as a wild card team, their vaunted rushing attack could still allow them to make a deep run once the playoffs start.
Remember that home-field advantage is not everything that it is made out to be. Some years it plays a factor, and sometimes it does not. Super Bowl contenders are mainly about the teams that get hot going into the playoffs. As for the Cleveland Browns, they might very well fall into that mantra.
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