- Despite a 4-1 start to the season, the Cleveland Browns are still +3100 to win Super Bowl 55
- Cleveland is off to a 4-1 start for the first time since the 1994 NFL season
- The Browns play for first place in the AFC North on Sunday against the 4-0 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Cleveland Browns are the only NFL franchise that’s been eligible to play in every Super Bowl that’s never appeared in the game, or played host to one.
Oddsmakers don’t believe that situation will be changing this season.
Despite being off to their best start to a season in more than a quarter-century, the 4-1 Browns are still being listed at +3100 in the Super Bowl odds. Across the leading online sportsbooks, Cleveland was at a betting line of +4000 entering play on Sunday.
Super Bowl 55 Odds
|Kansas City Chiefs||+450|
|Green Bay Packers||+1000|
|New Orleans Saints||+1200|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+1600|
|Los Angeles Rams||+1700|
|New England Patriots||+2500|
Odds taken Oct. 11 at FanDuel.
FanDuel still lists 11 teams with a better chance than Cleveland of winning the Super Bowl this season. That group includes the Indianapolis Colts (+2500). The Browns beat the 3-2 Colts 32-23 on Sunday.
Stampeding The Colts
Minus 1,000-yard rusher Nick Chubb (knee sprain), the Browns turned to the aerial game to overrun the Colts. Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for a season-high 247 yards and two touchdowns.
The Colts’ defence came into Sunday’s game allowing the fewest passing yards, and points and led the NFL in interceptions. But it was the Cleveland defense that came up big in the win.
ROLL OUT THE RED [email protected]_WOOD for six!
📺: #INDvsCLE on CBS pic.twitter.com/HMem8JAuXk
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 11, 2020
Safety Ronnie Harrison went 47 yards with a Philip Rivers interception for a pick six. Defensive end Myles Garrett forced Rivers into an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, resulting in a Cleveland safety.
Cleveland’s offense was so dominant that the Browns weren’t required to punt the ball until the fourth quarter.
Memories of ’94
When the Browns opened 1994 with a 4-1 mark, they also beat the Colts during that stretch but it was in Week 4.
The head coach of the ’94 Browns? Some guy named Bill Belichick. The defensive coordinator for the ’94 Browns? A fellow by the name of Nick Saban.
The Cleveland Browns are 4-1 for the first time since… 1994.
Bill Belichick was the team’s head coach and Nick Saban was defensive coordinator. pic.twitter.com/0oaKjEDVDZ
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) October 11, 2020
Cleveland improved to 6-1 that season. The Browns ended up 11-5, losing twice to the division champion Steelers, and settled for an AFC Wildcard playoff position.
Cleveland beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Wildcard round. The Browns were ousted 29-9 by the Steelers in the Divisional round.
Baker’s Rib Ticklers
If there was a concern following Sunday’s win, it’s that Mayfield came out of it with a rib injury. The team reported that post-game x-rays of the QB’s ribs were negative.
Admitting to soreness, Mayfield guaranteed he’d be under center for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. “Mama didn’t raise no wuss,” he said during his post-game Zoom session with the media.
#Browns QB Baker Mayfield: “The good thing about it is we don’t have to learn from a loss. We can get better after a win. Just the mindset of trying to be just a bunch of big, hairy American winning machines is important.”
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) October 12, 2020
There were other injury concerns for Cleveland. Starting right guard Wyatt Teller strained his left calf in the first quarter and didn’t return. Harrison suffered a concussion.
Starting defensive end Olivier Vernon left during the fourth quarter with a groin injury.
Browns Travel to Steel Town
There can be no greater measuring stick as to where the Browns are at than a journey to Pittsburgh. The Steelers are 4-0 for the first time since 1979.
The Baltimore Ravens are 4-1. Cleveland has won four in a row since absorbing a 38-6 thrashing at Baltimore in Week 1.
AFC North will have
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) October 11, 2020
The Browns beat the Steelers last season for the first time since 2014. But Cleveland hasn’t won at Pittsburgh since 2003, a 16-game losing skid.
Win at Pittsburgh and the Cleveland as contender narrative gains some legitimacy.