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3 of the NFL’s Biggest Pretenders

Baker Mayfield

A Team With Elite Players yet a Poor Culture

Three of the NFLs Biggest Pretenders

Baker Mayfield stands back for a pass. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

The Cleveland Browns have possibly the best running back tandem in the NFL (in Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb). They also have two elite wide receivers in Jarvis Landry and (the now injured) Odell Beckham Jr.

Lastly, the Browns have a defensive end by the name of Myles Garrett, who currently leads the league in sacks, and is on pace to potentially win a Defensive Player of the Year award.

So, what could be the problem? The biggest problem for the Cleveland Browns is the lack of an established winning culture. The last time the Cleveland Browns had a winning season was in 2007.

What is most worrisome about this, is how Baker Mayfield chose to conduct himself during the offseason. During that span, he spent a lot of time shooting commercials.

This lack of preparation, may not present itself during the regular season. However, if the Browns make the postseason opposing teams may have their mouth-watering at the idea of facing a team who is led by someone who is more concerned with his finances than building a winning culture.

This possibility has shown itself when the Browns have played elite teams this year. In the two games the Browns have played against the Ravens and Steelers this year, they have been outscored 76-13.

In Their Defense Their Defense is Great

Khalil Mack
Kahlil Mack of the Chicago Bears celebrates after make a play. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)

The Chicago Bears have an elite defense.

Their defense features a potential Defensive Player of the Year Candidate (Kahlil Mack). They have a secondary that has only given up a pair of pass touchdowns all year, and they have a star receiver in Allen Robinson.

So what is the biggest problem in Chicago? The team is incapable of finding much production outside of Robinson on the offensive end.

So far the Bears have had inconsistent play from their quarterbacks. In fact, the quarterback situation had looked so poor that the team benched Mitch Tribusky only a couple of weeks into the season.

So far this season the Bears have scored the sixth-fewest total points of all NFL teams. The Bears are a team that is designed to win low scoring close games, but last week the Los Angeles Rams showed, that the Bears are not capable of keeping up with a team that has an elite pass rush and an elite offense.

The Bears offensive line is too weak, especially given the lack of elite athleticism surrounding their skills positions.

One might even go to say that the Bears are one of the luckiest 5-2 NFL teams in the history of the league. This can be shown through the Bears negative point differential through seven weeks (-2).

Of the 12 teams with five or more wins (through seven weeks) 10 of them currently have positive point differentials.

Run Away From the Hype

So far this year, Josh Allen (the Bills’ quarterback) has played great. The Bills also boast a solid wide receiver duo in John Brown and Stefon Diggs.

Three of the NFLs Biggest Pretenders
Josh Allen (quarterback of the Buffalo Bills) posing. Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Bills.

However, what is most worrisome about the Bills is that they have not been able to put away terrible teams.

In the two games, the Bills have played against the league-worst New York Jets the Jets have been able to hang around until the end.

This past week the Bills had to kick six field goals in order to beat the 0-7 Jets. During the 18-10 victory over the Jets, the Bills trailed 10-0 early and struggled in the red zone.

This can be in large part due to the teams’ inability to run the ball. So far this year the Bills’ run game ranks seventh to last in the NFL.

This will be a worrisome stat for Bills fans if the team makes the playoffs. Having the inability to run the ball makes an offense more predictable.

Having a more predictable offense makes it harder to score. This will only put more pressure on the young Allen and if his hot start slows down, the team could lose a lot of games in a similar fashion to how the Jets game went (only with the score looking a lot different).

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