So, the question heading into 2019 is whether the Cleveland Browns are the best team in the AFC North. Another question is whether Baker Mayfield takes that next step towards being a franchise-type quarterback.
That’s a big question. Mayfield, who is as arrogant as he may be talented, won’t get a ”sophomore slump” pass if he goes belly up in Cleveland. In fact, he would only be fulfilling the pre-conceived destiny of many in the sports media.
The other looming factor is a wide receiver and career headcase in Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ and Mayfield could provide the kind of combustion that is potentially amazing, or disastrous. Both have oversized egos, are remarkably talented, and could prove to be franchise changers.
It could also all blow up on the launchpad.
Like the Bengals, they have a schedule that won’t offer any favors. Home games with the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks, as well as a huge road test against the New England Patriots, will likely serve as measuring stick type games showing how good the Browns may, or may not be.
I’ll be the first to say they were better than the 7-8-1 record they posted for 2018. They will need a big season from OBJ to improve on that. Problem is, he doesn’t stay healthy, and that hurts Mayfield and the Browns.
Cleveland is good. If they can hold it together and not implode, they could be great. Just not this year.
Brown finish 8-8.