The Cleveland Browns took the Chiefs to the wire in the 2020 playoffs. With new faces on the defense, are the Browns a threat to stop the Chiefs?
These are not your father’s Browns. The Browns are serious contenders in the AFC in 2021.
If you would have said that five years ago, you would have been laughed out of your friend group, church, Cleveland sports bar, anywhere. Head coach Kevin Stefanski has seemingly turned the team around after an 11-5 year in the competitive AFC North. Their 2020 season came to an end in a divisional-round loss against the Chiefs, in a 22-17 nail-biter.
While Chiefs quarterback Chad Henne proved Henne-thing is possible, the game was too close for comfort against Cleveland.
While the Chiefs were not stifled in overall yardage, going 2-5 in the red zone certainly held scoring in check. The Browns’ defense did everything within their power to keep the game close and close it was.
The Browns had one of the best offseasons, reloading through free agency the draft. Cleveland used six of their eight draft selections on the defensive side, all while bringing in safety John Johnson and pass rushers Jadeveon Clowney and Takk McKinley. The front line will make up for the lack of linebacking talent, while a great, young secondary roams the field.
The secondary, including defensive backs Dezel Ward and Greedy Williams, were often injured in 2020. All these pieces coming together in 2021 has scary potential for the AFC and NFL as a whole.
Cleveland feels within striking distance of the Chiefs for the top AFC spot, as they proved last year. This Week 1 matchup will set the tone for both teams, in what may be an early Game of the Year candidate.