Cleveland Browns fans are quick to let others know what a great tradition the organization has. The Browns won four NFL championships, the last coming 58 years ago, prior to the NFL and AFL merging in 1970. A Super Bowl championship to cap a 2022 season wouldn’t just be a gigantic celebration for a blue-collar city along Lake Erie, but one of the NFL predictions worth considering.
It’s been a tumultuous offseason for the Browns, who in the quarterback frenzy this offseason acquired Deshaun Watson despite the 23 civil lawsuits filed against him alleging sexual misconduct. That has caused an uproar among Browns fans, but as is anything for sports, winning cures anything, even though this case may differ.
Getting Watson up to speed by mid-season, assuming the NFL’s investigation does not include a penalty after Watson sat out last season, would allow the former star quarterback to unlock a new element of the offense like Baker Mayfield and a long list of other failed quarterbacks.
At 19-1 odds at BET US though and the best quarterback in the division based on talent alone, edge rushers in Myles Garrett and Jadaveon Clowney, and a lethal running game with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, it is hard not to accept their playoff likelihood.
Besides, would the Browns have traded three first-round picks and guaranteed $230 million to Watson if they felt he wouldn’t play this year? It would be a mighty risk that would go down as potentially the worst trade of all time.
The NFL has developed into a passing league over the years, and quarterbacks have always been heavy favorites to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award. Consider Watson and all he’s dealing with — he is practicing, by the way — is still at 23-1 at BET US.
There is a value in skill players though. Derrick Henry was one of the contenders before suffering a fracture in a bone on the outside of his foot. The Titans star along with divisional rival, Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, are at 41-1 odds each. Taylor ran away with the rushing title and was the focal point of the Colts’ offense with Carson Wentz’s troubles.
If it’s a two-horse race among those two running backs, perhaps side with Henry. Taylor will still be a focal point in the offense but adding a leader in Matt Ryan gives the Colts’ passing game a lift.
Deebo Samuel is reportedly upset with the San Francisco 49ers because he is an elite playmaker and doesn’t want the pain of being a running back, which research shows those athletes have shorter careers. However he was effective in the backfield and the slot as a wide receiver and that kind of versatility could be lethal for the 49ers, and at 81-1 odds is worth consideration.
So, too, is another running back in Browns’ Nick Chubb, who at 126-1 odds the same chance as Mayfield, who is hoping to be traded. But Kevin Stefanski loves the running game, as was the case in Minnesota with Dalvin Cook (also 126-1), and Chubb should face rush-friendly boxes with Watson’s ability to stretch the field.
The Buffalo Bills are the odds favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Whether matched up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (15-1), Los Angeles Rams (21-1) or Green Bay Packers (21-1), they are in the three best odds for a Super Bowl matchup.
Three AFC West coaches are the frontrunners for NFL Coach of the Year, and none of them have the benefit of Patrick Mahomes being behind center. Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley and Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels are the favorites at 15-1 with Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett at 17-1.
Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt is the favorite to repeat as Defensive Player of the Year at 7-1.
Henry is +425 to win Comeback Player of the Year. Watson is +900 as is Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. New Orleans Saints star receiver Michael Thomas is +950 to win the award.