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Baker Mayfield should go over his passing yardage and TD total in 2020

Baker Mayfield and the Browns didn’t live up to expectations last season, but 2020 is a new year and Cleveland has made good moves to position their offense.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns walks off the field after a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 29, 2019 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati won 33-23. Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield had a disappointing 2019 season, especially when compared to the hype surrounding the team’s offense. He finished the season completing 59.3 percent of his passes for 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. For our wagering purposes today, we’ll look at his possible passing yards and touchdowns for this year.

As the 2020 NFL Draft nears, DraftKings Sportsbook has given us over/under totals on passing, receiving and rushing stats for individual players. Mayfield’s over/under for passing yards is set at 3,875.5 and his passing touchdowns are set at 23.5.

Prediction: Over 3,875.5 yards, Over 23.5 TDs

Last season the Browns had average offensive line play at best, which led to much of Mayfield’s trouble in his sophomore season. The team had gone out and grabbed Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt, but didn’t upgrade their offensive line, which ended up being a fatal flaw. New GM Andrew Berry went out on the first day of free agency and grabbed an above average right tackle in Jack Conklin. With a Pro Bowl left tackle and center, the Browns still need o-line help. That help should arrive after they pick 10th overall in this year’s draft. All signs point to the team grabbing an offensive lineman, which could boost their line into one of the better units in the league.

The Browns also added a reliable pass catcher at tight end in Austin Hooper. They had talent with David Njoku, but not consistency and Hooper is consistent. With Hooper, a full season of Kareem Hunt and slot receiver Jarvis Landry to go along with an improved line, Mayfield should have no trouble finding quick outlets when he feels pressure. The extra time to throw should also help his connection with Beckham Jr., which is very much needed for the offense.

After looking at Mayfield’s 2019 passing yards, you may think the over will be an easy hit, but the reason it is so low is due to new head coach Kevin Stefanski, who was given the offensive coordinator job in Minnesota last season after years with the team. Last season he helped Kirk Cousins to one of his most efficient seasons ever, but also to just 3,603 passing yards. But, Stefanski also was working with Norv Turner and Mike Zimmer and was hired in-house, which means Zimmer knew he had full control. That showed in the first three games when Cousins completed just 37 total passes, but Cousin’s usage went up after that and if you look at just his last 13 games, he’d be on pace for 4,135 passing yards.

Mayfield had 27 touchdown passes in 2019 and 22 in 2020, while his TD rate went from 5.6 percent to 4.1 percent. Last season Cousin’s threw for 26 touchdowns with a 5.9 percent TD rate. Mayfield’s efficiency should increase with help on the offensive line and even if he were to not reach his yardage total, his chances to to raise his touchdowns up this season are still very good.

Nick Chubb should have a strong season, but the Browns don’t have the defense that the Vikings have and will need to throw more and with the upgrade on the line, I expect Mayfield to hit the over in passing yards and touchdowns for 2020.

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