The Cleveland Browns have a big opportunity to get back into the playoff race against rivals the Baltimore Ravens. Here are their keys to victory.
The Cleveland Browns have the odd privilege of playing their division rival, the Baltimore Ravens, in back-to-back games, on either side of their bye week. They fell victim to their own offensive inefficiency in their first look at Lamar Jackson and company on Sunday Night Football last week, but get another shot at home next Sunday.
Whether the game will play out similarly or not is hard to tell, and this sort of schedule doesn’t happen too often for the Browns, but what is clear after the first game is the obvious dos and do nots against this Ravens team. They figured out part of the puzzle the first time around, now it’s time to regroup and launch their playoff bid for the back part of the schedule.
Here is what the Browns will need to do if they’re to win and reignite their playoff hopes.
Fix the Cleveland Browns offense, please…
The No. 1 problem against the Ravens in Week 12, as it has been for much of the season, was the offense. They have been held to 17 or fewer points in seven of their last nine games after what looked like a fairly positive start, and it’s the biggest reason they’re currently 6-6.
Last week was yet another case of coming up short in a very winnable game. The Browns defense picked off Lamar Jackson 4 times! 4 interceptions! And yet Baker Mayfield and co. did very little with the numerous chances.
A factor in their struggles has admittedly been injury issues. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt have both returned recently, but Jack Conklin suffered a season-ending injury. The receiving options are healthy but limited, and we’ve seen before that getting open isn’t a frequent problem on the offense but is exacerbated by playcalling at times.
And then of course there is Baker Mayfield, whose play has extinguished talks of a contract extension for now. It’s hard to find a QB, and starting over shouldn’t be taken lightly by fans, but the debate is certainly thereafter the season he’s had. He and Stefanski need to figure it out or it will be time to go back to drafting board (see what I did there) to find functionality on offense.