The Baltimore Ravens
The biggest reason the Browns won’t be ready to compete for an AFC North title in 2020 is the Baltimore Ravens. After a disappointing end to 2019 with a Divisional Round loss at home to the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs, the Ravens will have a major chip on their shoulder. There is very little argument they are a top-three team in the entire NFL and will be competing for a Super Bowl once again in 2020.
Not only that, but the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals also will not be easy wins within the division. The Steelers will have a top-five defense and should be able to score points with Ben Roethlisberger back from injury. The battle of Ohio between the Browns and Bengals always stays evenly matched. Even when the Browns were bad and the Bengals were going to the playoffs, the games always managed to stay competitive.
IF the Browns live up to expectations, there is an argument the AFC North could be the toughest division in the NFL, but certainly in the AFC. The Browns will be lucky to split each series with the Ravens and Steelers and must beat the Bengals twice to have a shot at the playoffs.
There is no doubt the Ravens will be their toughest competitor in the league, but Browns fans there is some good news. Getting the Ravens on the road Week 1 is a tough break, BUT they may catch the team sleeping before they get in their grove. No doubt it will be a tough win, but it may be better than catching them Week 4 and fully in sync. Also, the Browns home game against the Ravens is a Monday Night Football game. The stadium will be rocking and could give the Browns a huge advantage.
I want to always stay positive with the Browns, but a division title just doesn’t appear to be in the cards for 2020. However, look for the Browns to make the playoffs and win a first-round game. They play the game for a reason, but a second-round matchup versus the Kansas City Chiefs or Ravens will be difficult to win on the road.