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3 reasons why the Browns can win the AFC North

Why the Browns can win the AFC North

By: Jake Rajala

The Cleveland Browns unequivocally had the most disappointing performance in 2021. It was clear that Kevin Stefanski’s dip from the Coach of The Year in 2020 to helping his squad land a third-place finish in the AFC North last season didn’t inspire the Dawg Pound. The Browns head coach and general manager Andrew Berry knew they needed to make some exotic, impressive moves entering the 2022 off-season. Berry’s all-out blitz approach this offseason has helped his team land the gifted, highly controversial Deshaun Watson, superb Amari Cooper, ascending Chase Winovich, and retain the athletic freak TE David Njoku. It’s obvious that Browns aim to beat the dead horse of acquiring off-season talent over the prior two seasons should realistically lead to success in 2022.

With that enunciated, I believe the Browns should feel confident about their chances of winning the AFC North in 2022. The Cincinnati Bengals may have been crowned AFC Champions last season, but they only won two more games than the Baker Mayfield-led Browns in 2021. It could very well be the Watson-led Browns turn to win their frigid AFC division for the first time in the history of the AFC North. So, here are three reasons why CLE can win the AFC North in 2022.

  • QB change

I may sound like Captain Obvious, but the Browns QB change from Watson to Mayfield is worth reflecting on. Watson threw 33 touchdowns in 2020, while Mayfield threw 17 touchdowns last season. Furthermore, the Browns new QB only recorded 7 ints in 2020, as the Browns former first overall pick unveiled 13 picks. Yes, Watson might literally be the opposite of the Browns former QB. Watson can for sure propel the Browns loaded roster better than Mayfield with the combination of his wicked play-making ability and quality turnover habits.

  • Healthy Kareem Hunt

The Browns arguably have the NFL’s best 1-2 punch at the RB spot with Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb. Both of the Browns ball carriers can be effective at breaking down opposing defenses with their pure power. Sometimes NFL RB tandems don’t need to embody the combination of “thunder and lightning if they can both remain fresh and strong. Chubb’s 2021 season may have been his personal best season, but Hunt missed nine games a season ago. The QB room might be shiny in Cleveland, but a healthy Browns RB tandem could be a big reason for Stefanski’s offense potentially finishing as one of the top o-units in PPG.

  • Lack of division growth

I believe that the AFC North is loaded, but I don’t believe that two of the AFC North teams (excluding the Browns and Bengals) were noticeably creative this off-season. Fate couldn’t prevent the Steelers from witnessing Big Ben retire, but it will take time for the Steelers to grow their QB position. The Steelers squad that miraculously made the playoffs last season didn’t ink one or two big-name profiles in free agency, too. They were able to sign Myles Jack, but they will also miss a lot of production from Joe Haden and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Meanwhile, the Ravens didn’t help Lamar Jackson’s growth by taking away Hollywood Brown. The Bengals weren’t as witty as the Browns, but they did make two smart additions in La’el Collins and Alex Cappa. I expect the Browns to feel comfortable in every divisional contest next season. The Browns had lost three division games in 2021, but I expect them to lose one divisional contest next season.

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