2020 Browns Review
The Cleveland Browns entered the 2021 season under new head coach Kevin Stefanski and immediately brought a new energy with him. Cleveland has been trending in the right direction, but they were able to put it all together in 2020.
The Browns finished the regular season with a record of 11-5 and then went on the road to Pittsburgh and won a playoff game. Cleveland eventually suffered a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, but it was a very successful 2020 campaign.
2021 Browns Offseason Additions
Cleveland clearly prioritized getting help on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, and they went out and made a number of important signings. The secondary should be much improved, but they will also be able to get after opposing quarterbacks.
Strong safety John Johnson and cornerback Troy Hill both signed with the Browns from Los Angeles, and that will help those players be comfortable in their new role. Defensive end Takkarist McKinley and linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. will provide some depth upfront.
2021 Browns Offseason Departures
While the Browns were able to make a number of key additions on the defensive side of the ball, that is also where their biggest losses came. Cleveland did have a solid defense in 2020, but they have lost some of the key pieces from that unit.
Here are some of the key departures from the Browns:
- CB Kevin Johnson
- CB Terrance Mitchell
- LB Olivier Vernon
- LB B.J. Goodson
- SS Karl Joseph
Three Key Factors To A Winning Season
Keeping OBJ Healthy
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the best in the NFL, but keeping him on the field has been an issue. If the Browns are going to transform into a serious Super Bowl contender, then they have to keep OBJ on the field.
The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are two of the best rushing teams in the league, and Cleveland will face those teams four times this season. The Browns are going to have to get stops on the ground if they want to keep up with those teams.
Stealing Road Wins
Cleveland has a terrific home-field advantage, but that won’t be enough to win the AFC North. The Browns are going to have to find ways to pick up wins away from home, especially against the division opponents.
Rating Their Schedule
Cleveland has a difficult schedule in 2021, and the difficult matchups get started right away in Week 1. The Browns will visit Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in the season opener.
Weeks 12-14 see the Browns face the Baltimore Ravens twice, with a bye sandwiched in between. Those two matchups could ultimately decide the winner of the AFC North Division.
A Week 16 trip to Green Bay to take on the Packers could prove to be another difficult game, assuming Aaron Rodgers is on the field for the Packers.
Expectations in 2021
The Ravens and Steelers have been controlling the AFC North for the past decade, but it’s time for the Browns to take this division over. It won’t be easy, but the Browns simply have too much talent on both sides of the ball. It will likely take just 11 wins to win the AFC North, and Cleveland should be able to get to that number.
Winning in the playoffs is a completely different animal, but the Browns will give themselves a great chance by winning the AFC North Division.