5 Cleveland Browns on the hot seat in playoffs vs. Texans

Which Cleveland Browns are on the hot seat for this weekend's matchup against Houston?

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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4. Jim Schwartz, defensive coordinator

Just like a bad regular season can be forgotten with an epic playoff performance, so too can a great regular season performance be wiped out by an epic playoff collapse.

Jim Schwartz has been an outstanding addition to the Cleveland Browns organization and the defense has responded to the way he runs things exceptionally well. The Browns had the No. 1 overall defense in the NFL in terms of yards allowed in 2023. They were the best pass defense in the league.

Nobody has been better as a unit at getting off the field on third downs. But the Browns do have a major area of weakness, and it's their red zone defense. If Jim Schwartz's unit allows CJ Stroud and the Texans to move the ball down the field, we've seen this team susceptible in a number of games this year.

Now is not the time for Schwartz's defense to have a bad day at the office.

5. Running backs

No Nick Chubb for the Cleveland Browns, so others are obviously going to have to step up in the playoffs. And the seat is going to be hot.

Both Kareem Hunt and Jerome Ford did a solid job this season at filling in for Chubb, but the Browns are going to need these guys to go on a bit of a playoff tear in order to close out games and be road warriors. That's what you have to do this time of year to win.

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These two combined for an impressive 18 touchdowns in 2023, but they also averaged just 3.5 yards per rush between them. The Browns are going to need better efficiency out of these guys in the postseason, starting against one of the league's toughest run defenses (6th in rushing yards allowed, 2nd in yards per carry allowed). Cleveland's running backs need to find a way.