J.K. Dobbins Injury Update Should Push Browns to Top of AFC North Odds

Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett and the Browns are in a great place to win the NFC North.
Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett and the Browns are in a great place to win the NFC North. / Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

It's been about a billion years since the AFC North ran through Cleveland, right around the same time dinosaurs roamed the earth, but by golly it really feels like everything is falling in the Cleveland Browns favor heading into the 2021 NFL season.

No, you never want to celebrate another player getting injured, but Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins likely being ruled out for the year with a torn ACL is a huge break for the boys in brown (and orange and white and whatever other colors they bust out in the color rush jerseys this year). Dobbins was going to be Robin to Lamar Jackson's Batman in the Ravens backfield. Without him, the Ravens are left with Gus "stone hands" Edwards and some other guys you don't know and neither do I. The Ravens will likely sign a free agent, but Todd Gurley is the best option there and, yeah, it's not 2017 Todd Gurley.

All this is good news for the Browns. Their odds to win the AFC North on WynnBET have remained +140 (bet $100 to win $140) since the injury, but the Ravens have moved back to +125. Depending on what happens from now until the start of the regular season, the Browns could be the favorites to win the division soon enough. Better get on the plus-money now.

The Browns made the playoffs last year for the first time 2002, beat the Steelers in the Wild Card round and nearly knocked off the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round. That kind of momentum is priceless for a team trying to form a winning culture.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield finally took command of the offense last year and became less turnover prone, which is all the Browns need with their two-headed rushing attack of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. They signed lineman Jadeveon Clowney this offseason to bolster their pass rush, which of course features Pro Bowler Myles Garrett, and have wide receiver Odell Beckham returning after tearing his ACL last season.

Overall they have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. With momentum on their side, this seems like a year the Browns could take another step forward and win their first division title since Ronald Reagan was President of the United States.

Like the Browns, the Ravens are a run-first team. Dobbins was not only expected to headline that alongside Jackson, but he was also their top pass-catching back. Without the safety blanket, the Ravens will have to rethink their offense because Edwards has never been a good pass-catching back.

We'll see if the Ravens bring in another running back, but whoever it is won't be as good as Dobbins. That opens the door for the Browns and Steelers to take hold of the AFC North, and if last year's playoff game is any indication, the Browns are the better team of the two.

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