Cleveland Browns Super Bowl Odds: Passing Game Hurts Super Bowl Chances

The upcoming Cleveland Browns campaign will be an ode to old-school football. At least for the first 11 games. The suspension of newly acquired Deshaun Watson leaves the Browns between a rock and a hard place as they try to get new faces acclimated to their system. That will increase reliance on the run game and defense, as the Browns play into their two strengths without their starting quarterback. That won’t be enough to limp the Browns to a playoff spot, leaving little value in backing Cleveland at +3000 in Super Bowl wagering.

Ground and Pound Offense

Even with a  serviceable quarterback in Baker Mayfield, the Browns still ran the ball the sixth-most often, calling run plays 46.0% of the time. Surely, rushing plays will increase now that the team is left with a third-string option under center. 

Nick Chubb has been nothing short of sensational since being drafted in 2018. Chubb has rushed for at least 996 yards per season, going north of 1,200 in two of his last three seasons. The Georgia product will be ridden hard as the featured player on offense. 

Thankfully, the Browns have a 1B option at running back in Kareem Hunt. The former Pro Bowler has been rumored to be unhappy with his situation in Cleveland, preferring to play elsewhere in a lead role. However, there may be some apprehension on the Browns’ front, knowing that running backs have a short shelf life and that rushing plays will be a focus. The Browns are aware that their best-case scenario is rotating both backs with the starters, meaning Hunt should plan on staying put. 

Limited Continuity in the Passing Game

The Browns made some off-season moves to upgrade their receivers, trading for Amari Cooper and drafting David Bell and Michael Woods II in the third and sixth rounds, respectively. Still, those moves are unlikely to return dividends in the short term without Watson throwing them the ball. Moreover, Cleveland is missing a premier wideout, decreasing their passing game appeal. There’s no confidence in the Browns’ aerial attack, which will be a limiting factor. 

Still a Great Defense

We could look past some of the shortcomings on offense thanks to the Browns’ impenetrable defense. Cleveland limited opponents to the third-fewest yards last year, relying on imposing forces in every layer of the defense. Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney kept offensive lines up at night with their unrelenting pass rush. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah blossomed as an interior linebacker, and Greg Newsome II flourished in their rookie seasons and could be difference-makers in 2022. As good as they were last year, this is still a young, up-and-coming unit. The Browns will be excellent on defense, but unless they lead the league in scoring, it’s unlikely to make a big enough difference to offset their ineffective offense.

BetMGM Super Bowl Insights and Analysis

Unless the Browns plan on winning games by a 6-3 or 9-7 margin, it’s inconceivable that they will make a run to the postseason in 2022. The good news is that Browns fans are used to disappointment. It should come as no shock when the team leaves themselves short on runway at the end of the year and another offseason of discontent. The Browns are underserving of their current price and could easily be looked past in the futures market.