CBS Sports - No. 19 (down 4 spots)
If the playoffs started today, they would be home watching. The passing game is just too limited right now.
ESPN - No. 17 (down 2 spots)
The offense has fallen off a cliff. From Week 6 on, the Browns’ offense ranks 24th in efficiency, 25th in expected points added (EPA), 19th in yards per play, 24th in third-down conversion rate and 26th in first downs per game. Baker Mayfield’s injuries have clearly impacted his performance all season. Now, the running game is beginning to sputter, as well. Cleveland, mathematically, is still alive in the playoff race. But the way this offense is playing, it’s difficult to see the Browns making a serious push.
NFL.com - No. 16 (down 2 spots)
First, it was Odell Beckham Sr. sounding off on Baker Mayfield. On Sunday night, it was Kareem Hunt’s old man who went public with his opinion that the Browns are incapable of running their offense with a physically compromised starting quarterback. Mr. Hunt makes a fair point: Mayfield deserves credit for gutting through multiple injuries, but he’s not making enough plays to justify his continued inclusion in the lineup. In Case Keenum, the Browns have a highly qualified (and well-compensated) backup who once nearly took the Vikings to the Super Bowl with Kevin Stefanski as his quarterback coach. Yes, benching Mayfield could lead to hurt feelings and possible estrangement, but if winning football games is the top priority? It’s time.
Sporting News - No. 16 (down 3 spots)
The Browns’ offense is stuck with everyone knowing they must run well with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to have a chance, given all of Baker Mayfield’s durability concerns and his limited supporting cast. They might need to accept this much-hyped follow-up season was lost to injuries.
Yahoo Sports - No. 15 (down 1 spot)
Right tackle Jack Conklin’s torn patella tendon will finish his season and won’t help a Browns offense that is looking worse by the week. They scored 10 points on 12 possessions on Sunday at the Ravens. Maybe the Browns just aren’t very good.
“The Cleveland Browns have the same chances of making the playoffs in 2021 as the Jacksonville Jaguars: zero.”
That’s what Davenport wrote after watching another pathetic effort from the Browns offense Sunday night in Baltimore.
With Odell Beckham Jr. gone and injuries mounting, Cleveland has arguably the weakest array of passing-game talent in the league. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield isn’t playing well, in part because of a litany of injuries. Cleveland’s vaunted one-two punch at running back of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt tallied 36 yards on 15 carries against Baltimore.
Davenport isn’t the only analyst who thinks the Browns are officially in Donesville as a playoff contender.
“You are what your record says you are,” Sobleski said. “The Browns entered the season with lofty expectations, and they’ve fallen well short as a middling squad with a 6-6 record. Mayfield’s regression coupled with subpar play from multiple offensive positions has led to the team scoring 17 or fewer points in six of its last seven games. Cleveland is perfectly mediocre.”
USA Today - No. 18 (down 4 spots)
Better get better during the bye week, Baker. Afterward, Cleveland is set to face the hardest remaining gauntlet (.634 opponent winning percentage) in the league.
Listed below is a summary table of where teams in the AFC North are ranked this week.