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The Cleveland Browns have not appeared in primetime on Sunday night since the 2008 campaign. However, their improvement last season and the arrival of Odell Beckham Jr in a trade deal could end their 11-year wait to make their return to the NFL’s weekly grand stage.
Cleveland’s poor record and marketability over the last decade has seen the franchise ignored by the executives at NBC, holder of the rights to the Sunday Night Football package. Supporters of the Browns have been starved of success and the ability to watch their team in the headline game of the week for too long. However, it now appears that the club are trending in the right direction.
With first-overall pick Baker Mayfield finding his form in the NFL in his rookie term, the Browns finished the 2018 season with a 7-8-1 record. Freddie Kitchens’ men now have the opportunity to build off a solid platform and their slew of new players could take them to new heights.
A better option for a punt on Cleveland could be the AFC Championship. The reigning Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots loom, along with the rising upstart Kansas City Chiefs. However, the Browns may be able to supplant Bill Belichick’s men and at odds of 7/1 or potentially higher through enhanced odds offers through certain bookmakers. There’s enough talent on the team to achieve the feat in a new era for the club.
After years of being a laughing stock, the promise of Mayfield and the star power of Beckham Jr leading the receiving corps not only makes the Browns a Super Bowl contender but also one of the most marketable teams in the NFL. Cleveland have been selected once per term in their annual obligation to play on Thursday Night Football.
Mayfield, Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landy, Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward are either household names or are well on their way to achieving that fact. Cleveland’s drought may well be over in the first game of the season when they could travel to face the Patriots.
The Los Angeles Rams are also on their schedule, which could result in another showdown on the flagship event, while matches against the Steelers and Ravens contests are equally tantalising. Cleveland could well go from zero primetime games to as many as four, helping the club re-establish themselves as one of the leading franchises, which has not been the case for almost 30 years.