CBS Sports - No. 19 (no change)
So much for all that preseason hype? They just aren’t good enough right now. Is the game at Baltimore this week a must-win?
ESPN - No. 20 (down 1 spot)
Despite the star power, the Browns have sputtered through three games. There have been flashes. But the inability to consistently sustain drives is a big reason why Cleveland is 1-2.
NFL.com - No. 21 (down 6 spots)
We haven’t reached panic mode in Cleveland, but we’re not far off. Baker Mayfield looked confused and jittery in a prime-time home loss to the Rams, and it’s on first-year coach Freddie Kitchens and the rest of the Browns staff to fix their young star. Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution, with Mayfield working behind a shoddy offensive line that has left him in danger rather than “feeling dangerous.” Kitchens mucked things up further on Sunday with some shaky play-calling, including a fourth-and-9 draw play in the fourth quarter that will live in infamy. Speaking of bad play-calling, how does Odell Beckham not get a target on any of the Browns’ four cracks at the end zone on their final drive? Beckham was brought in to be a dynamic difference-maker -- throw the man the ball, and good things will probably happen. The Browns need a common-sense check.
Baker Mayfield is completing just 56.9% of his passes, 30th in the league. Freddie Kitchens and Todd Monken have to get that figured out or this once-promising season will slip away.
Yahoo Sports - No. 18 (no change)
Freddie Kitchens had a great half-season as interim offensive coordinator. It made sense for the Browns to hire him. In retrospect, the hire doesn’t look good, at least at this early point in the season. The Browns’ offense has talent and has been bad. Kitchens’ play-calling has been questionable, and that’s being kind. It’s a big jump from offensive coordinator to head coach (and an even bigger jump when we remember he’d never called plays before midseason last year), and it looks like he has too much on his plate.
Remember all those good old days when everyone gushed about how good the Browns were going to be? Those were simpler times. Now, after dropping to 1-2 following a seven-point loss to the Rams on Sunday night, the Browns are 1-2 and about to head into a brutal four-game stretch against teams that are a combined 10-2 this season. Three of Cleveland’s next four opponents made the postseason last year, highlighted by a trip to Gillette Stadium to play the Patriots.
Given how badly the Browns have struggled offensively, it’s not hard to imagine the Browns coming out of this mess of a month at 1-6 and all but out of postseason contention.
”Yes, the Browns are freeeee...free fallin’,” Sobleski quipped. “The Browns are simply not a good football team right now. They play undisciplined football. Their first-time head coach, Freddie Kitchens, looks in over his head. A draw on 4th-and-9?! C’mon, man. And the supposed franchise quarterback, Baker Mayfield, has regressed. Basically, Cleveland returned to its typical underwhelming status.”
Associated Press - No. 19 (no change)
Listed below is a summary table of where teams in the AFC North are ranked this week.