With the 2019 NFL regular starting in just under two weeks, NFL.com analysts named the Cleveland Browns as the favorites to win the AFC North.
Despite the Ravens and Steelers being veteran teams who have shown they can win games despite roster turnover, it has been hard for people to ignore the talent Cleveland has put together to this point.
Days after the Beckham trade, the Browns quickly became the betting favorites to win the AFC North. Bovada still lists Cleveland as the favorites to win the AFC North with their odds listed at +135. The Steelers have the second-best odds at +185.
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But the Browns are not only viewed as the favorites among the general public and Las Vegas odds-makers to win the division. NFL.com analysts made their picks for who will reach the playoffs in 2019, and the Browns were once again picked as the favorites to win the division.
Out of 28 votes, the Browns received half of the votes to win the division with 14 total votes. The Steelers had the second-most votes with 10 votes. Former NFL quarterback and 11-year veteran David Carr was one of the Browns votes, and here is his reasoning for picking Cleveland.
"There is so much talent on John Dorsey’s roster, and expectations are cresting among long-downtrodden Dawg Pounders. I anticipate this gifted group will handle it well and get back to the top of the division for the first time in 30 years. – David Carr, NFL.com"
Much of the reason the Browns have become playoff contenders and favorites in the AFC North is because of how much talent they boast on both sides of the ball. But the biggest reason analysts have some doubts with the Browns is because of rookie head coach Freddie Kitchens and if he can actually mesh the talent together.
And because most of the Browns starting offense has not played together during the preseason, those questions have escalated before the regular season begins. If the starting offense has not had much game experience, there are concerns the Browns will start the season slowly.
Even with that question in mind, the Browns remain one of the most hyped teams before the regular season. The expectations have not dwindled, and the Browns still have a lot to prove when they open the regular season.