CBS Sports - No. 24 (down 4 spots)
Losing the way they did to the Cardinals can’t bode well for Freddie Kitchens. Nor should it.
ESPN - No. 20 (down 1 spot)
The Browns had the talent on paper to be a playoff team. But at 6-8, they’re already all but out of the playoff picture with two weeks to go. Cleveland has to figure out why this season turned into such a disappointment, which will require some serious self-evaluation. Talent is not the issue, which leaves culture, leadership and coaching as the only explanations for why this team underachieved. The Browns have a window to become a playoff team down the line, but a course correction is required.
NFL.com - No. 19 (down 2 spots)
Here’s the sick thing: After all the disappointment of this season, the Browns could have been right in the thick of the wild-card race this week. The Titans and Steelers both lost in Week 15, which would have put the Browns one game behind both teams with two to play, had they taken care of business against a Cardinals team riding a six-game losing streak. But the 2019 Cleveland Browns don’t take care of business. They talk a lot, and make dumb mistakes, and kick away opportunities -- and that’s why they’ll be sitting at home once again come playoff time. As Gregg Rosenthal pointed out on Sunday’s Around The NFL Podcast, the Browns might be the most consistent team in football. The problem is that it’s the bad kind of consistency. You don’t get peaks and valleys, just an unimpressive plateau you can hike in about 20 minutes.
This must be the NFL’s least likable team at this point, right? All the good feelings and lofty expectations from the preseason are long gone as the defense gave up 38 points to a rookie QB and his middling offense while Baker Mayfield continues to struggle finding OBJ (eight catches, 66 yards) and Jarvis Landry (five catches, 23 yards). The lone bright spot continues to be Nick Chubb, who rushed for 127 yards and a TD on 17 carries.
Yahoo Sports - No. 19 (no change)
Bad to worse. The Freddie Kitchens-Jarvis Landry dustup could have been just one of those random sideline moments that gets overblown ... but it seemed like more than that was going on.
The Cleveland Browns aren’t officially eliminated from the playoffs yet, but a listless loss to the Cardinals that left wide receiver Jarvis Landry yelling at head coach Freddie Kitchens was demonstration No. 612 that showed the team is an undisciplined mess. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Browns reportedly want Kitchens back in 2020 despite this year’s underachieving disappointment.
And after the latest setback, the coach said he’s not worried about his employment status, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal: “I don’t care about my future as Browns coach. I’m going to show up Monday, and I’m going to do the best job that I can do Monday.” It’s the same story week after week. The Browns talk a big game. They come out flat and mistake-prone in a loss. Then they proclaim that all is well despite the near-daily reports of drama surrounding the organization. This team is a mess. And if Kitchens is coming back next year, it’s hard to imagine that changing much.
Associated Press - No. 19 (up 2 spots)
Listed below is a summary table of where teams in the AFC North are ranked this week.