Acquiring names like Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Sheldon Richardson, Kareem Hunt and Olivier Vernon will do that kind of thing.
But one man not buying in to all of the hype surround the Browns is outspoken ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith. When discussing Cleveland as a Super Bowl contender with Michael Irvin on First Take, Smith laid into the Browns.
“The Cleveland Browns are no damn title contender,” Smith said. “Anybody who says otherwise is blasphemous for doing so. They haven’t proven a damn thing. I’m so disgusted with this love affair for the Cleveland Browns.”
It’s safe to say the Brown will put that statement on their bulletin board this season. Check out the full segment below.
Browns Favored to win the AFC North
Stephen A. Smith can rant all he wants, but the odds in Vegas tell a different story about how the Browns season might unfold.
With the AFC North in a bit of a transition season, the Browns are installed as the favorite to beat out the Steelers, Ravens and Bengals for the division.
The Steelers traded their star wide receiver Antonio Brown, the Ravens also saw some stars depart and are trying to find an offensive identify with Lamar Jackson at QB and the rebuilding Bengals just lost Pro Bowler AJ Green for a good part of the season. The Browns are seeking to end a 16 season playoff drought and their first AFC North title since reentering the league in 1999.
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
The Browns have also 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.
Michael Irvin Drives Stephen A. Smith Crazy With Browns Comparison
Irvin is optimistic that the union between Browns Pro Bowl wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry work because of the history the two wide receivers have as college teammates at LSU and the fact they’re good friends off the field.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are very good friends and part of the NBA’s notorious “Banana Boat” crew.
The comparison sent Stephen A. into a tizzy, before he told Irvin, “That is disrespectful. Don’t you dare compare Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.”
Beckham — a three-time Pro Bowler — missed the selection the last two years as he’s dealt with injuries that have kept him off the field for a combined 16 games. In his career, OBJ has hauled in 390 passes for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns in 59 games.