Two issues could be the Cleveland Browns downfall in playoffs

The Cleveland Browns have fought through adversity but these two positions could prove to be problematic

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

Right now, the Cleveland Browns are sitting at 10-5 with a playoff spot in full grasp. In fact, if they beat the Aaron Rodgers-less Jets at home this Thursday, they will likely have the number one wildcard position locked up. 

Typically, I would be ecstatic about this scenario, but right now I’m struggling to have too much excitement. For one, we must question if this Joe Flacco streak can continue. I love the guy and will be his biggest fan as long as he is a Brown, but what he is doing at age 38 is beyond impressive. 

Remember, the Browns are doing all this damage in the AFC with a fourth-string quarterback, backup running back, fourth and fifth offensive tackles, and fourth and fifth safeties. Not to mention that guys like Denzel Ward and Anthony Walker have missed multiple games while guys like Myles Garrett, Joel Bitonio, and Za’Darius Smith play through nagging injuries. 

Questions remain for the Cleveland Browns ahead of postseason

The biggest question for me right now is the offensive line. Number one, can they protect Flacco and give him time in the pocket which is when he is at his best? But number two is also a big one, can they give Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt any running lanes?

Flacco having zero time and taking sacks will slow this offense down in a hurry, but the Browns have been a top-five running offense the last four years, and as of late they are coming up with nothing. There could very well be a playoff scenario where they need to get two first downs on the ground to run out the clock, and right now I’m not sure they’d have a chance with that. 

Safety is another huge concern for me right now. Grant Delpit, Juan Thornhill, and Rodney McLeod have all missed the last few games, but there is some hope Thornhill can play on Thursday. McLeod is done for the season, and some speculate that Delpit could return for the playoffs. 

D’Anthony Bell and Ronnie Hickman have played their tails off the last few weeks, but they are still backup NFL players who can have busted coverage on any play. If Thornhill or Delpit can return and be fully healthy, I feel good with the backend of the secondary, but if they are down to safeties four, five, and six for the playoff run, it will be challenging. 

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