The Cleveland Browns were projected to be a playoff team this year.
They went 11-5 in 2020 and were considered to have the best offensive line in football.
During the offseason, the defense was revamped with a lot of talented players added.
Fast forward to Week 6, the Browns are 3-3.
They are a .500 team that has dropped two straight games.
Browns fans have a lot of reasons to panic.
Here are three of them.
3. Losses To Playoff-Caliber Teams
The Browns are losing to teams who will likely be in the playoff conversation at the end of the season.
Those are the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers, and Kansas City Chiefs.
If the Browns want to be viewed as a playoff contender, the team must beat playoff contenders.
The worst part of the Chiefs and Chargers losses were that the games were winnable.
The Browns had the lead and needed to play smart and clean to finish the game.
They could not do it.
These losses also shined a light on questionable play-calling by Kevin Stefanski.
Repeated failed efforts to go for it on fourth down instead of taking the points from the team’s hot kicker Chase McLaughlin is just one of the errors.
I don't profess to be an analytics guru, and right now I don't care what they tell Kevin Stefanski, but when you are converting just 6 of 15 on 4th down, you need to take the 3 when you can and stop going for it until your offense plays at a level that justifies it. #Browns
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) October 18, 2021
2. Lack Of Momentum
The Browns have no momentum and look to be frightfully short on confidence also.
For two straight weeks, opposing quarterbacks have picked apart this revamped defense.
This defense gave up wide open uncontested touchdowns.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 17, 2021
On a short week, the Browns needed momentum (and adrenaline) to carry them through two tough opponents: the Cardinals and Denver Broncos.
1. Too Many Injuries
The Browns’ injury list is mounting.
On Monday, October 18, the team listed 20 players on its injury report.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) October 18, 2021
The team did not practice.
It is unclear if it was because of the bitter loss, the short week (the Browns play on Thursday night), or the amount of players hurt.
Baker Mayfield‘s non-throwing shoulder continues to be a problem.
The offensive line is hobbling along.
Then, there is the defense.
The linebackers are mostly injured in some way.
The most severe is rookie superstar Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
The Good News
There is still a morsel of good news.
This is only Week 6, and the Browns are 3-3.
They are two games behind the Baltimore Ravens, one game behind the Cincinnati Bengals, and tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for third in the AFC North.
The Browns have not played any of their division rivals yet.
There are big games in the upcoming weeks which the Browns can win.
Those wins would send a message to the NFL that the Browns are in fact what many expected them to be during the preseason.