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Browns looking for first Super Bowl, and they might get it

Browns looking for first Super Bowl, and they might get it

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After their first playoff berth since 2002, the Cleveland Browns will look to build off their 2020 success and parlay it into a potential Super Bowl run.

It’s safe to say the Cleveland Browns have finally found a head coach-quarterback duo that will carry them for the foreseeable future.

What’s next for Kevin Stefanski, Baker Mayfield and the Browns after making the playoffs for the first time in 18 years? Here is how it could play out in Cleveland in 2021.

Best-case scenario

The Browns are a team built to win the Super Bowl, arguably having the best roster in the NFL. They’ve added many pieces to a defense that was already very solid, including safety John Johnson III, corner Troy Hill and edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

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Offensively, there aren’t many holes, either. The offensive line is remarkable and Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are the NFL’s best running back duo. Mayfield took a big step forward in 2020 as well, and the Browns will get Odell Beckham Jr. back. The roster is as complete as it gets, and they are bound for a deep playoff run — possibly ending with a parade through downtown Cleveland.

Worst-case scenario

It’s hard seeing the Browns missing the playoffs. If they catch the injury bug, perhaps Baltimore or Pittsburgh win the division. This could leave the Browns playing either Buffalo or Kansas City in the opening round of the playoffs.

Even if all goes well and they host a playoff game Wild Card weekend, they could run into an unfavorable matchup. If the Los Angeles Chargers are humming, they could also cause trouble. The Browns will be a playoff team, it’s just a matter of how far they’ll go.

X-factor

Mayfield rebounded from a sophomore slump season in a big way. His passer rating jumped from 78.8 to 95.9 and he was much more efficient.

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Can he keep it up, though?

In a year where he will be looking to prove himself worthy of a contract extension, Mayfield can’t try to do too much. If he does, that could keep the Browns from reaching their full potential.

Biggest Game: Week 17 at Pittsburgh

This game will have playoff implications riding on it, and it will be the second leg of back-to-back road games for the Browns, as they’ll be coming off a trip to Lambeau Field on Christmas Day. Every game against Pittsburgh is a big one for the Browns, but this could be their biggest matchup with the Steelers since their resurrection in 1999.

Bold prediction

Again, the Browns might have the best roster in football. They’re going to be able to put up a lot of points, and it’s going to be difficult to score on them with all their defensive talent . Garrett and Clowney will wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines while Denzel Ward, Hill and Co. hold it down on the back end.

Pittsburgh and Baltimore may hang around, but this is an 11-win team at worst.

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