The Browns have a 46 percent chance to make the playoffs according to ESPN’s figures, with a projected win total of 8.2. Cleveland ranks third in the AFC North in terms of chance to make the postseason.
The Ravens and defending MVP Lamar Jackson have a whopping 92 percent chance to make the playoffs — second best only behind the reigning champion Chiefs. The Ravens are projected to win 11 games.
The Steelers have a slightly higher chance for the playoffs at 58 percent and are projected to win 8.8 games.
After being the worst team in the NFL a year ago and selecting LSU QB Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick, the Bengals are projected to still be in the bottom tier of teams. ESPN has them winning 5.6 games with a 6 percent chance of making the playoffs.
Football Power Index is ESPN’s prediction model for the NFL. According to the site, it is based off of Preseason ratings are based on each team’s Las Vegas win total; last season’s performance on offense, defense and special teams; the number of returning starters; coaching staff changes; and starting and backup quarterbacks.
Kevin Stefanski Looking to Chance Culture in Cleveland
The Browns hired long-time Minnesota Vikings assistant Kevin Stefanski in the offseason as their next head coach.
It was the second coaching search in as many years for the Browns, who fired Freddie Kitchens after a disappointing 6-10 season that started with heaps of hype, with many pegged the Browns as a Super Bowl contender.
The Browns have had just two winning seasons since returning to the league in 1999 — including a winless campaign in 2017 — but Stefanski isn’t worried about the past. He’s firmly focused on what he can control, which is the future.
“I understand that and for me – and it is easy: the focus is [on] 2020. We are not looking backward, we are looking forward,” Stefanski said during his introductory press conference. “I hope all of our players know that, too. When they walk in the building, whenever it is in April, we are moving forward. Anything that has happened in the past does not affect our future. I am just confident in the group that we have.”
Browns Have Added Big Pieces in Offseason
The one thing projections really can’t account for is moves made in the offseason and how those will change the makeup of a team. For example, the Browns added tackles Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin this offseason, which should give quarterback Baker Mayfield more time to pass.
Mayfield finished last year with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, ranking next-to-last in both passer rating (78.8) and completion percentage (59.4%) despite having both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry at his disposal. With more time, it should help the QB find his star pass-catchers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry more often.
Mayfield also has an additional weapon to work with in tight end Austin Hooper, who was another big signing for the team in free agency. That’s not to mention the Browns stellar run-game headlined by Nick Chubb, and what should be an improved defense.