The Cleveland Browns made the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades in 2020 and their road to the postseason was far from easy. They had to overcome all kinds of challenges and nearly fell short of their goal in Week 17. However, they managed to narrowly edge out the AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers to extend their season.
Baker Mayfield bounced back from his sophomore slump in his third pro season and didn’t have to be a gunslinger to do it. He depended on his team’s dynamic rushing attack, which was led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Only two teams ran for more yards than the Browns in 2020 and that helped them make up for the absence of Odell Beckham Jr., whose season was ended prematurely by a torn ACL.
Cleveland’s strong run defense was offset by subpar pass defense but the Browns can improve that. Denzel Ward is under contract for a few more years but three other cornerbacks are entering unrestricted free agency. Cleveland will need to make upgrades at defensive back to avoid fielding an abysmal secondary in 2021.
The Browns will face their AFC North divisional opponents six times, half at home and half on the road. In addition, they draw matchups against all for teams from the AFC West and NFC North. The NFL is expected to add a 17th game to the regular season schedule that will feature an inter-conference matchup with a similarly placed team. The Browns would face the NFC West.