The Cleveland Browns will try to end the NFL’s longest active playoff drought during the 2020 season.
Add Fox Bet Live analyst Todd Fuhrman to the list of people who believe the Browns will make the postseason for the first time since the 2002 season.
“Streaks were made to be broken, [Rachel] Bonnetta and I really believe this is the year that Cleveland finally gets over the hump, and we’re talking about them punching a ticket to the postseason,” Fuhrman said. “And so much of it has to do with Baker Mayfield not being asked to be the only one that’s capable of executing big plays offensively.
Fox Bet has the Browns listed at +130 to make the playoffs this season.
It means if the Browns make the postseason, a $100 wager would win $130 for a net payout of $230.
Do you agree? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/ihjmtMWviN
— FOX Bet (@FOXBet) September 6, 2020
Fox Bet lists the Browns at -154 to miss the playoffs.
If the Browns do not make the postseason, a $154 wager would win $100 with a net payout of $254.
Working in Cleveland’s favor is the NFL’s expanded playoff format.
Starting this season, seven teams per conference will make the playoffs.
Furhman pointed to how first-year Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski ran the ball 50.5% of the time as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator in 2019.
“You look at the Browns bringing in Kevin Stefanski, we know the Vikings ran the ball, top five in terms of percentage of offensive snaps,” Fuhrman said. “You saw Kirk Cousins as the beneficiary a season ago, and I really believe with running mates that Baker has in the backfield, Nick Chubb and when you look at Kareem Hunt, this Browns team is going to be run first.”
Last season, the only teams to run the ball more frequently were the Baltimore Ravens (57.5%) and the San Francisco 49ers (51%).
Fuhrman said he believes the Browns’ ability the run the ball will open up the passing game for Mayfield.
“It’s going to open things up in the play-action game for them, and you’re gonna see Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham, and the hot offseason acquisition of Austin Hooper really pay dividends,” Fuhrman said.
The Browns have the second-longest active playoff drought in North American professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL).
Only MLB’s Seattle Mariners (2001) have a longer active playoff drought.
As of Monday morning, the Mariners sit six games back in the American League Wild Card race.
The Browns’ projected win total is set at 8.5 for the 2020 season, which is slightly lower than last season’s projection of nine victories.
In 2019, the Browns finished third in the AFC North with a 6-10 record despite oddsmakers favoring the team to win the division before the start of the season.
— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) August 13, 2019
In 2020, the Baltimore Ravens will be vying to win the AFC North for the third consecutive season.
Since the league configured the AFC North ahead of the 2002 season with its current teams — the Browns, the Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Cincinnati Bengals — no team has won the division three years in a row.
The Browns have not won a division title since winning the former AFC Central in 1989.