The Detroit Lions have a pending free agent quarterback in their hands, and they may be looking to trade him. With the options available for Baker Mayfield, it is almost impossible that he will not find a new home before his contract runs out at season’s end. Whether or not the Browns get back into playoff contention remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Cleveland must move on from this struggling signal-caller sooner rather than later.,
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Bill Belichick, more than any other NFL coach, knows how to expose an opponent’s flaw. After all, it was he who devised the game plan that limited Kurt Warner and The Greatest Show on Turf to 17 points in Super Bowl 36. He used a similar technique almost two decades later to hold Sean McVay’s high-powered attack to a field goal in Super Bowl 53.
Of course, there are plenty additional instances of Belichick’s genius that support his claim to being the best coach in NFL history. Even if the New England Patriots haven’t been as dominating in the post-Tom Brady era, it’s reasonable to say its longstanding captain is still capable of devising a strategy to stop opposition quarterbacks.
Unfortunately for Baker Mayfield, a string of poor luck has made him the latest quarterback to fall prey to Belichick.
That doesn’t rule out the possibility that the Browns will return to Cleveland with their fifth defeat of the season. Mac Jones, like Mayfield, is fighting an uphill struggle to score points owing to personnel issues.
The Patriots are riding a hot run of shutting down opposition quarterbacks heading into Week 10.
The Patriots have recovered their classic form on defense after a humiliating defeat to the Dallas Cowboys in which they surrendered the most total yards (567) in the Bill Belichick era. They haven’t had to deal with a murderer’s row of quarterbacks, to be sure. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to look at some of the figures and not believe New England has turned a corner on that side of the ball.
The Patriots’ Week 7 clash against the New York Jets could not have gone any better. Zach Wilson and Mike White combined to throw for 253 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions on 26 of 42 passes. Given the inexperience of both players, the Patriots clearly had a significant edge.
After Week 8, all remaining reservations about Belichick’s game-planning abilities vanished.
The Patriots’ blend of coverages and blitz packages claimed the next quarterback, Justin Herbert. On 18-of-35 throwing, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year threw for 223 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Herbert’s 66.7 quarterback rating was his second-lowest of his brief career.
In a 45-0 defeat to New England in Week 13 of the 2020 season, he had his lowest (43.7).
Following that, Belichick flexed his coaching powers against an old foe: Sam Darnold. In a 24-6 loss at home, the former New York Jet threw three interceptions, including a costly pick-six hauled in by upcoming free agent J.C. Jackson.
The Patriots, who are clearly on the rise, will face a Browns attack that is significantly less intimidating without several key playmakers.
Baker Mayfield has become Belichick’s latest victim thanks to a cruel stroke of ill luck.
When the Patriots meet the Browns, the crucial battle to watch will be Bill Belichick vs. Baker Mayfield. | Getty Images/Joe Scarnici | Getty Images/Kirk Irwin
Baker Mayfield is having a rough time right now.
In reality, a string of bad luck has positioned the soon-to-be-paid quarterback for an unfavorable day at Gillette Stadium.
First, Mayfield watched as his most talented wideout was released by the Browns. Odell Beckham Jr. seems to be ready for a change of scenery, and although he may not be an elite player at this point in his career, there’s little denying Cleveland’s receiver group is less talented without him.
As if not having to deal with Beckham wasn’t enough of an advantage for Belichick, the fact that both of the Browns’ top running backs aren’t expected to play doesn’t auger well for Mayfield’s prospects. Kareem Hunt will miss his fourth straight game due to a calf injury, despite the fact that he is eligible to return off injured reserve. Meanwhile, Cleveland has ruled out standout running back Nick Chubb due to COVID-19. After testing positive for COVID earlier this week, the All-Pro running back is still on the list.
While the Browns have one of the greatest offensive lines in the league, they lack a really strong passing threat. They also won’t be able to use either of their outstanding running backs against the Patriots. That should make it much simpler for Belichick to devise strategies to drive Mayfield to make errors.
If the Patriots don’t have to worry about the running game, they may experiment with blitzes, stunts, and twists to throw the quarterback off guard. Furthermore, Belichick has the ability to switch up coverages, forcing Mayfield to think harder both before and after the play.
It’s not surprising to see the 2018 No. 1 overall selection struggle since the Patriots absolutely shut him down two years ago, holding him to 194 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception while sacking him five times. Kevin Stefanski’s team will be in significant jeopardy if Belichick takes advantage of a weakened lineup to put Cleveland’s controversial quarterback in precarious positions.
Mac Jones has his own difficult task ahead of him as the quarterback of a New England team that will be without Damien Harris.
Rhamondre Stevenson, a rookie running back, is doubtful for Sunday’s game due to a concussion.
The fact that the Patriots ruled out Damien Harris but not Stevenson indicates that the organization remains optimistic about Stevenson’s availability.
November 13, 2021 — Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss)
The Browns are short-handed at running back heading into Week 10. The Patriots, on the other hand, have a depth problem at the position.
Due to a concussion, Damien Harris, the team’s top rusher, will miss Sunday’s game. Josh McDaniels will be missing a crucial weapon without him, which might lead to greater playing time for J.J. Taylor, who has been underappreciated.
After all, it’s unclear if Harris’ backup will be able to participate.
Rhamondre Stevenson may also miss the Browns game after an electric performance against the Carolina Panthers was cut short due to a concussion. He hasn’t been declared out yet, so there’s still a chance the rookie fourth-round selection will be cleared and ready to handle the weight in a game that might determine playoff positioning.
Nonetheless, Mac Jones’ chances are dimmed by New England’s injury problems at running back. He’s been consistent in previous weeks, but with Harris away, he can’t afford another poor showing. Will he be able to take a step forward against a quick, aggressive Cleveland defense that features All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett?
In the end, this should be a tough, grind-it-out matchup between two rock-solid defenses and two quarterbacks who must safeguard the football while avoiding costly errors.
However, with Bill Belichick looking more like himself recently, the Patriots should be able to take care of business at home against a Browns club vying for first place in the competitive AFC North.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics.
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