X-factor No. 1: Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield tops the list as the biggest x-factor for the Cleveland Browns in Week 3. Mayfield comes off a rather impressive performance in Week 2, throwing for 219 yards and two touchdowns in the 35-30 victory.
Mayfield took heat and criticism following his Week 1 performance, where he and the Browns looked ill-prepared for a tough Baltimore Ravens team. Frankly, Baker had not had a great performance since his standout rookie season. He came into his third year with a lot riding on his shoulders and needing to show that he was the guy that was the long term starter in Cleveland.
Baker’s impressive showing against the Bengals came because the Browns were able to stay on schedule and not get behind the chains in down and distance. Being able to set up the play-action by establishing the run with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt helped Mayfield be able to fool the defense on numerous occasions, allowing for easy throws throughout the game.
While Washington has an impressive defensive front, their defensive backs aren’t totally impressive. Sure, they have some good names and talent there, but most of their high rankings are because the defensive line gets so much pressure and allows so little time for the quarterback to process and read the field.
If Baker Mayfield is given time, he has to be able to read the field properly and make the right throws on time. Sure, the run game is important, but Mayfield is still the most important X-factor for this offense. As he goes, so the rest of the team will go.
If he plays like 2019 Baker Mayfield, the Browns could be in trouble. If he trusts in his head coach’s play-calling, however, and plays within himself like he did in Week 2, the Browns should have a very good day on Sunday.