3 reasons Browns will win AFC North in 2023, and 2 they won’t

The Cleveland Browns have a shot at winning the AFC North, but it won't be easy. Here are 3 reasons they can do it and 2 reasons they could fall short.
Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout
Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
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Why the Browns will win the AFC North: Finally have their QB

It's true that there are better defensive linemen that will take the field in 2023. There's also going to be improved safety play thanks to Juan Thornhill and Rodney McLeod.

On offense, there's much more depth at wide receiver. Elijah Moore, Marquise Goodwin, and Cedric Tillman join Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones to form a deep and talented receiving corps. If that wasn't enough, David Njoku is joined by Jordan Akins to give them a formidable duo at tight end.

While all of this is true, it means nothing if the quarterback can't get the job done.

As much as everyone loved the grit Jacoby Brissett played with, he was never going to carry a team on his back. The same was true of Baker Mayfield, who did lead them to an 11-win campaign in 2020 but they were clearly a run-first team.

In order to find sustained success and compete against the best teams in the NFL, having a top-tier quarterback is a must. That's why the Browns were willing to take a major PR hit and sacrifice three years' worth of first-round picks to bring in Deshaun Watson.

Now heading into 2023, they're ready for him to be the guy from the start of the year. The 3-3 record in 2022 means very little since they know he was just knocking off the rust and so far in minicamps and OTAs, Watson looks to be every bit the player he was in 2020 when he led the NFL in passing yardage.

Cleveland hasn't had a true franchise quarterback since the days of Bernie Kosar. Watson provides this and that's the biggest reason the AFC North crown is attainable.