5 biggest challenges awaiting the Cleveland Browns in 2021

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Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) makes a pass during an NFL football practice at the team’s training facility, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Berea, Ohio.

Five challenges the Cleveland Browns will face during the 2021 season

For the first time in a very long time, the Cleveland Browns are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

They are stacked with talent and are coming off their best season since 1994. The path forward will not be easy, but Cleveland is ready to rise to the occasion.

Here are five of the biggest challenges awaiting the Browns in 2021.

5. Keeping Baker Mayfield on his hottest streak

Baker Mayfield had lots of questions to answer heading into 2020, and his response over the first six weeks of the season was not great. Then, something clicked with him, and he showed gradual improvement up until Week 13, after which he was legitimately elite, as good as any other quarterback in the entire NFL.

Is it realistic to expect Mayfield to continue that level of play? Probably not, because that would mean he’d be on the level of Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers, who are all pretty good players. Mayfield has always been a streaky passer, so there is the chance that his season post-Week 6 was just an abnormally long and abnormally great streak for him.

Whether that is the case or not, the Browns will go as Mayfield goes. Fans can talk about the excellent running game all they want, but if Mayfield isn’t playing great football, this team isn’t winning in the playoffs. His tape shows incredibly encouraging developments in the mental aspect of the position, and he’s as accurate as anyone when he’s at his best.

Maybe he isn’t normally a top-3 passer for the rest of his prime, but he doesn’t have to be either. Anything resembling his 2020 streak would be more than good enough.

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