The Browns haven not won the AFC North since 1989, but Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is not discounting Cleveland's chances to steal the division in 2019.
"They’re the most talented team in the division," Harbaugh told Cleveland.com's Mary Cay Kabot on Wednesday. "There’s no question about that right now. And we’ll see what that means, you know? I know this. That’s right now. The best team in the division is the team that’s going to win the division. So we’ll see what the best team is."
Cleveland finished third in the AFC North at 7–8–1 in 2018 after going 0–16 the year prior. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield led the Browns back to respectability and interim coach Gregg Williams took over for former head coach Hue Jackson in October. Former Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens was announced as Cleveland's head coach on Jan. 9.
With Kitchens and Mayfield in place, the Browns added a pair of dynamic offensive weapons in the offseason. Cleveland acquired Odell Beckham Jr. in a deal with the Giants on March 12, adding an All-Pro receiver after signing former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt on Feb. 11. Hunt will be suspended for the first eight games of 2019 for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Cleveland last reached the postseason in 2002. Baltimore won the AFC North at 10–6 in 2018, losing to the Chargers in the AFC wild card round. The Steelers finished second in the division last year at 9–6–1, then lost Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown during the offseason. The Bengals finished last in the AFC North at 6–10.
Baltimore and Cleveland split the season series in 2018.