Make no mistake about it: The Cleveland Browns Week 12 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens is the biggest game of the 2021 season and the biggest contest the team has played since ousting the Steelers in last season’s Wild Card round.
1. Losing this game drops the Browns to 6-6, and while the math is still technically possible, Albert Einstein ain’t walking through that door to deliver a realistic algorithm that places Cleveland in the playoffs.
The Wild Card path is going to be uber tough. Heck, the Raiders victory over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving dropped the Browns behind Las Vegas. The two teams play each other later in the season, ultimately settling a problem if necessary, but you get the point.
Even the Indianapolis Colts share the same record as the Browns…and we were all making Carson Went jokes in August. Don’t deny it.
If the Browns lose this one, get ready. They have a the Bye next week. Think rumors of a divided locker room will be amplified?
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2. Whomever decided not to give Baker Mayfield a contract extension should be getting some pats on the back at the Browns’ Berea HQ.
No, this isn’t Mayfield hate. I’m rooting for him. But go ahead and take a second to imagine a scenario where the Browns gave Mayfield a Josh Allen type extension in August?
Perhaps Baker earns an extension. That’d be great. I don’t want to draft another quarterback. Maybe it’s safer to pay more and be sure, a la Dak Prescott, than to jump at a bad deal a la Jared Goff and Carso Went.
3. Rashard Higgins has to know he’s on notice in this one. He had 52 catches in 13 games a year ago, good enough for a 16.2 yards per reception average. He has 31 through 11 games in 2021, for 12. yards per reception.
4. Jadeveon Clowney is playing as advertised…and that’s not good because frankly, Cleveland’s defense needs more.
While he made some good plays against the run against Detroit (Browns got gashed anyway), he’s been a virtual ghost when it comes to rushing the passer. Takk McKinley returns from injury this week. Hopefully, there’s something from the other side to complement Myles Garrett.