Over at NFL.com today, they took a panel of 28 writers to see the most popular picks for winning divisions in the AFC. The title of the article immediately gives away the Browns’ fate: “AFC North runs through Cleveland.”
The Browns received 13 of 28 votes to win the AFC North. The Steelers trailed with 11 votes, and the Ravens — who won the division in 2018 — were next with 4 votes. Earlier in the day, the Browns had 14 votes, but one of those votes must have been a mistake and now appears under Pittsburgh. Sadly, the article only lists commentary from one writer — but it does feature former Texans QB David Carr saying why he picked the Browns:
“There is so much talent on John Dorsey’s roster, and expectations are cresting among long-downtrodden Dawg Pounders. I anticipate this gifted group will handle it well and get back to the top of the division for the first time in 30 years.”
The other analysts besides Carr in Cleveland’s corner include Ali Bhanpuri, Tom Blair, Charley Casserly, Dave Dameshek, DeAngelo Hall, James Jones, Maurice Jones-Drew, Steve Mariucci, Adam Rank, Marcel Reece, Adam Schein, and former Browns left tackle Joe Thomas.
It is worth noting that 11 analysts did pick the Browns to secure one of two wildcard spots in the AFC. So, if you take 13+11, that means 24 of 28 analysts are projecting the Browns to make the playoffs. Not bad for a team that was 1-31 over a two-year stretch recently.