Baker Mayfield vs Sam Darnold: Different odds despite oddly similar offseasons

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 20: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after making a catch on a two-point conversion attempt during the third quarter against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 20, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 20: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after making a catch on a two-point conversion attempt during the third quarter against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 20, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold have different odds entering 2019 despite the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets having oddly similar offseasons

Ever since the Cleveland Browns selected Baker Mayfield as the first overall pick in 2018 over future New York Jet Sam Darnold, the two players and their AFC teams have been linked and compared.

Baker’s Browns got their first win in almost two years off Darnold’s Jets in Week 3 last season.

Baker’s Browns will play Darnold’s Jets on Monday Night Football (MNF) in Week 2 this season to commemorate the first ever MNF matchup in 1970, when, by the by, Bill Nelson‘s Browns defeated Broadway Joe Namath‘s Jets by a score of 31-21.

It’s uncanny how similar the two teams’ offseason moves have been in 2019, and their situations are now so parallel that it’s worth taking a look at the two teams side by side to see which former underdog stacks up better for the upcoming season.

For example…

SIMILAR: Both teams just hired a brand new head coach and offensive and defensive coordinators.

Browns:  Head coach Freddie Kitchens, offensive coordinator Todd Monken and defensive coordinator Steve Wilks

Jets:  Head coach Adam Gase, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams

Analysis: Gase has already been a head coach but not a winning one (Dolphins were 23-25 with him in charge), whereas Kitchens is brand new at the job but when he began coordinating the Browns offense in the second half of last season he proved he could game plan some wins (5-3) and effectively develop Mayfield.

Related Story. Browns attempting to temper expectations for 2019. light

Wildcard:  Williams was the Browns’ interim head coach when Kitchens OC’d those wins, but some (including Browns general manager John Dorsey, apparently) would argue that Freddie had more to do with the team’s success than Williams.

Advantage: Browns

SIMILAR: Both teams have a 1st round quarterback in his 2nd year under center.

Baker Mayfield: In 13.5 games, he threw for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.

Sam Darnold: In 13 games, he threw for 2,865 yards and 17 touchdowns with 15 interceptions.

Wildcard: Mayfield has already worked with Kitchens, whereas Darnold and Gase have to start off brand new.

Analysis: This one’s easy – by the end of last season, Baker ended up with a completion percentage of 63.8 and a quarterback rating of 93.7, while Sam’s rookie completion percentage was 57.7 and his quarterback rating was 77.6.

Advantage: Browns

SIMILAR: Both teams signed a high-level yet questionable running back.

Browns: Kareem Hunt, who sat out half of last season and won’t play in 2019 until Week 9.

Jets: Le’Veon Bell, who sat out all of last season and will play in Week 1.

Wildcard: The Browns also have starter Nick Chubb, who has proven he has no problem taking over a game.

Analysis: Both backs are dual threats who’ve taken a lot of valuable game time off, but Bell gets to start in Week 1 so he has the advantage over Hunt, who has to slip into the roster halfway through the season.

Advantage: Jets

SIMILAR: Both teams signed young, free agent receivers who hope to get back to their heydays

Browns: Odell Beckham, Jr.

Jets: Jamison Crowder

Wildcard: It’s freakin’ OBJ!

Analysis: Beckham was far more productive last season (77 catches for 1,052 yards and 6 touchdowns)  than Crowder (29 catches for 388 yards and 2 touchdowns) plus OBJ’s been far superior in every season the two have been in the NFL – this one’s not even close.

Advantage: Browns

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SIMILAR: Both teams drastically upgraded their defensive attack.

Browns: Signed defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

Jets: Drafted nose tackle Quinnen Williams and signed linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Wildcard: Both defenses were, ahem, not highly ranked last season – Browns: 30th, Jets: 25th.

Analysis: Cleveland added two Pro-Bowlers while New York added a big-time rookie and a four-time Pro Bowler, so given that both defenses were, ahem, needing much help, it’s tough to see yet which franchise benefited more.

Advantage: Tie, assuming Williams can play with the big boys

DISSIMILAR: the Browns have way better 2019 odds than the Jets

Odds that the Browns will win:

  • AFC North: +125 (1st)
  • AFC Championship: +700 (3rd)
  • Super Bowl: +1400 (5th)

Odds the Jets will win:

  • AFC East:  +600 (2nd)
  • AFC Championship: +2500 (10th)
  • Super Bowl: +5000 (21st)


Based on the results – Browns 3, Jets 1, with one category tied and Cleveland highly favored by the oddsmakers – it looks like the Browns are a good bet to outshine the Jets in 2019.

Browns general manager (and man most likely to get the next statue somewhere in Cleveland) John Dorsey gets all the credit for this irrelevant preseason paper win, whereas Jets interim general manager (and man most likely to lose in a stare-down contest) Adam Gase inherits the baggage that comes from a team that’s simply trying to stop the bleeding.

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Darnold’s New York Jets are anyone’s guess, so put your money on Baker’s Cleveland Browns, because despite their similar offseasons, the Browns have better odds of going somewhere.