5 areas the Browns need to clean up during the bye week

Browns, Myles Garrett. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
Browns, Myles Garrett. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images) /
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Browns, Denzel Ward. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

3. Creating turnovers, limiting them on offense

We saw in this past game how much it can fire up a defense when they force a turnover — or two. Myles Garrett batting a ball in the air and A.J. Green picking it off set the tone and when the Bengals tried to get back in the game, the strip-sack from Sione Takitaki made sure they never had hope.

The problem is that this is incredibly rare this season. Through the first eight games, Cleveland has just eight turnovers created by their defense — while turning it over 12 times themselves. Two of those turnovers came against Baltimore, so before that, they were recording fewer than one per game.

In the NFL, defenses don’t have to shut down opponents to have success. With the pass-happy NFL and the rules favoring offensive players, there will always be yards put up. What makes the difference, however, is when the defense can get the ball back for their offense. And of course, the offense has to be able to protect the ball.

That’s the key to winning, which is evidenced by the top-three teams in the league in terms of turnover differential all having winning records. The Eagles (7-0) are way out in front with a plus-14 turnover ratio, and they’re followed by three teams at plus-six in the Minnesota Vikings (6-1), Dallas Cowboys (6-2), and Baltimore Ravens (5-3).

Cleveland, on the other hand, is minus-four and has just four teams worse than them. That’s why they’re 3-5 and fixing the turnover problem would go a long way toward getting them back into the AFC North race.