How the AFC North Will Be Won | NFL Deep Dive

Are the Browns possible Super Bowl contenders for the 2021 NFL season?
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It's that time of year: A deeper look at how each of the divisions is shaping up in the first of our eight division previews. First, it’s a look at the AFC North.

Who was the best veteran addition in the division? The most intriguing rookie? Which coach—head or assistant—are we keeping an eye on in 2021?

The Ravens’ work solidifying their roster, the Steelers’ offensive question marks, the never-overwhelming expectations of the Bengals and the bona fide (according to one host) Super Bowl aspirations of the Browns. Plus, an unveiling of our absolutely unassailable collective projection for the order of finish.

But the true highlight of this episode is AFC North mad libs, a wonderful idea from Conor that went swimmingly once Conor understood how Mad Libs works.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks to make a hand off to a running back under pressure from defensive end Jadeveon Clowney during an NFL football practice at the team's training facility, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Berea, Ohio.

The following transcript is an excerpt from The MMQB NFL Podcast. Listen to the full episode on podcast players everywhere or on SI.com.

Conor Orr: I did a little bit of a cop-out here with Kevin Stefanski and I'll just say this, just because he's the only new head coach, I believe, to make the playoffs last year, the only first-time head coach—Ron Rivera also made the playoffs, and I guess he was technically a new head coach, but [Stefanski] was the only first-time head coach to make the playoffs last year ... during a pandemic. And I think in a lot of ways, the sky's the limit with this guy. It feels like as well as they were prepared last year coming into the season, despite not having anything in the offseason. You know, now that they have all these chances to get together to meet, what else could he do and how high could he take the ceiling of this, you know?

This Browns team is loaded, as Jenny said earlier. They have the coach of the year. They have Bill Callahan, who is probably next year a head coach. Your offensive line coach might be one of the most important people on your staff. And so they have a lot of really good things going for them. And they're together with the GM—like there's no in-fighting. I mean, this team could win the Super Bowl. I think that they have as good a chance as anybody going to the Super Bowl and winning it this year. Is that crazy?

Jenny Vrentas: Conor, that is a bold prediction that you dropped in. I wasn't prepared for it. 

CO: I wasn't, either. It just came out.

JV: It just came out? Conor Orr: "Browns to the Super Bowl." 

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