Cleveland Browns: 5 key players vs New England Patriots
1. Baker Mayfield
This one is simple. This team’s future is contingent upon Baker Mayfield playing well. At the very minimum, playing better than he has to this point of the season. Mayfield has a league-high 11 interceptions, and New England has a league-high 18 interceptions, and no other team has intercepted more than nine.
The Patriots have won their last 20 games against first- or second-year starters because of the complexity of their defensive scheme. The Browns emphasize winning their one-on-one matchups, and New England is an aggressive defense that prides themselves on creating and winning them defensively.
There is one thing that could help the quarterback on Sunday, and that’s having two weeks to prepare. The Browns have seen the worst losses in games in which Mayfield has thrown multiple interceptions.
It’s simple, Mayfield can’t turn the ball over and the offensive line has to protect him. The receivers are sixth in the league in drops, and seven of Mayfield’s 11 interceptions have touched the hands of a receiver.
The passing game has to be better, much better. New England won’t make anything easy come Sunday. If the Browns wish to have a chance, it will come down to the execution of the passing game.