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Can This AFC Sleeper Team Shock The NFL?

Quietly, the Cleveland Browns have put together one of the best rosters in the NFL. They are excellently coached, have plenty of talented receiving options, and have one of the best defenses in the NFL.

The Browns shocked the NFL this season and made the NFL playoffs even when Deshaun Watson got injured. Are the Browns a dark horse entering this season?

Deshaun Watson Determines The Future

Following an MVP-caliber season in 2020, Watson missed lots of time because of off-the-field issues. When Watson had his chance to debut for the Browns in 2022, he was underwhelming at best. In six games played, Watson threw for seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Ultimately, he never showed a glimpse of how he played with the Texans, but that could have been due to rust.

Last season, Watson was injured early and missed a large portion of the year. He finished 2023 with seven touchdowns and four interceptions, with a total of 1,115 yards. Ultimately, Watson has played too little football to realistically know if he's ever going to return to form.

As mentioned, the Browns have one of the best rosters in the NFL overall. It is one of the best offensive lines combined with a top running back in Nick Chubb, a duo of Amari Cooper and Jerry Jeudy, and a tight end, David Njoku, breaking out. The Browns' offense is loaded with dynamic offensive pieces, if Watson can return to Texans' form the Browns will be one of the best teams in the AFC.

AFC North Competition

Ultimately, the AFC North plays a large role in how far the Browns can go in the NFL Playoffs, or if they can even make it to the NFL Playoffs. The AFC North is arguably the best division in the NFL currently, and it does not look like it will weaken. The division contains the Ravens, Bengals, Steelers, and the Browns.

The Ravens are fresh off the one seed and an AFC championship appearance, and they added Derrick Henry this off-season. The Bengals were able to make the Super Bowl and an AFC Championship experience when Joe Burrow was healthy, and all signs point to him returning to the firm. The Steelers made the NFL Playoffs this season with arguably one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, and they added Russell Wilson.

Ultimately, if the Browns can take a massive leap forward, it relies on Deshaun Watson. The Browns roster is one of the best in the league, but Watson needs to be a high-level quarterback for them to represent the AFC North in the playoffs.

Read More NFL News From Stadium Rant Here: NFL News


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