It didn’t take long for the Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. connection to grab attention at Cleveland Browns’ training camp. When the action got underway Thursday, Mayfield and Beckham linked up on a sweet pass-and-catch which resulted in a decent gainer, and added to the preseason hype.
As the Browns revealed on Twitter, Mayfield’s pass was on the money while Odell showed off his athleticism by making a tough catch look easy.
It’s an impressive start to what should be a fun preseason for the Browns, who enter the year with high expectations.
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Browns Favored to Win AFC North
Even with multiple talented teams around them, including Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns still enter the 2019 season as the odds-on favorites to take the division crown. As Odds Shark revealed, Cleveland opens training camp with odds of +125 to win the AFC North, ahead of the Steelers at +195.
Here’s a look at the full AFC North odds, courtesy of Odds Shark:
- Cleveland Browns +125
- Pittsburgh Steelers +195
- Baltimore Ravens +275
- Cincinnati Bengals +1600
Beyond that, the Browns have landed in the top-10 in terms of odds to make the 2019 NFL Playoffs. As Mason Media Consulting revealed (courtesy of BetOnline), they enter the year with a 55.1 percent chance to make the postseason, which is tied with the Chicago Bears.
The Steelers traded Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders this offseason while the Browns bolstered their roster across the board, resulting in a huge jump in odds. It also helps that Mayfield led Cleveland to its best record since 2007, as they finished the 2018 season at 7-8-1 and showed signs of turning the corner in a big way.
Browns’ Addition of Odell Beckham Jr. to Impact Full Roster
With the Browns acquiring Beckham via trade with the New York Giants this offseason, it creates one of the most intriguing wide receiver duos in the NFL. Beckham and Jarvis Landry played together at LSU and the fact they’re paired up once again is only going to improve the outlook for both players.
The attention Beckham draws is bound to lead to better matchups and more opportunities for Landry. It’ll also leave Mayfield’s other weapons in the passing game, including David Njoku and Antonio Callaway, plenty of additional room to work with.
After a successful rookie season for running back Nick Chubb in which he tallied 996 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, his encore performance should be even more impressive. Chubb also wasn’t utilized as the primary back until the Browns traded Carlos Hyde, and the addition of Kareem Hunt should add even more excitement to the team’s backfield.
Beckham, who racked up 390 receptions for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns over 59 games with the Giants, is stepping into a great situation. In landing with the Browns, it should allow the 26-year-old, who’s battled injuries at times the past two seasons, to hit double-digit touchdowns again for the first time since 2016.