NFL.com has come out with its top five most complete teams entering the 2021 season.
It will not come as a surprise to Cleveland Browns fans that their team tops the list.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) June 24, 2021
NFL.com provides the following rationale for choosing the Browns:
“The Browns have been building a respectable roster for several years now. But heading into the 2021 season, they aren’t just good — they’re loaded with Pro Bowl talent from top to bottom, featuring multiple high-level players at almost every position group. The offensive success no doubt stems from an O-line that returns all five starters from a unit that Pro Football Focus ranked first in pass blocking and second in run blocking in 2020.”
GM Andrew Berry’s efforts to bolster the defense also earns kudos from NFL.com.
Though much has been written about the addition of free agents Jadeveon Clowney and Takk McKinley at defensive end, NFL.com believes the area where the Browns will see the greatest improvement is in the secondary with the addition of former Los Angeles Rams safety John Johnson III and cornerback Troy Hill.
First-round draft pick cornerback Greg Newsome II is also believed to be an impact player for the Browns secondary in 2021.
Pressure Is On
82 days until Cleveland Browns football! pic.twitter.com/UAa9K9s7OM
— Browns Clock (@BrownsClock) June 22, 2021
The Browns have been operating under the radar for years due to subpar seasons.
All of that changed in 2020, and the focus will now be on the loaded roster, second-year coach Kevin Stefanski, and fourth-year quarterback Baker Mayfield to make things happen.
Mayfield had a terrific 2020 and finally has consistent and good coaching along with a talented roster of offensive players including the fantastic o-line NFL.com lauded.
There are no more excuses; it is go time.
Who Else Made The List
The Browns are the only AFC North team that made the top five list.
The remaining four teams are ranked as follows:
- Number two is the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Coming at third are the reigning AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs
- The young and rising Los Angeles Chargers are fourth.
- Josh Allen‘s Buffalo Bills are ranked fifth.
Week 1 Test
By now, everyone has September 12 marked on his or her calendar.
The Browns open the season by traveling to Arrowhead to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Even though NFL.com ranks the Browns two places ahead of the Chiefs, the Chiefs are the oddsmakers favorite in that game.
That revamped Browns defense will be on display as it is matched against the upgraded Chiefs offensive line.
Like the Browns, the Chiefs used the offseason to improve the less effective parts of its roster; finding players to protect Patrick Mahomes was a priority.
In 2019 and 2020, the Browns have come out in Week 1 and lost lopsided games to the Tennessee Titans (43-13) and Baltimore Ravens (38-6), respectively.
If the Browns lose to the Chiefs, it cannot be lopsided and follow this precedent.
It needs to be hotly contended and hard-fought with a final score that is close.
Oh it’s the Cleveland Browns year believe that!!! pic.twitter.com/FS2n8hOg1E
— The_Brownie_Elf (@TheBrownieElf1) June 24, 2021
In the meantime, earning NFL.com top preseason ranking for the most complete team in 2021 is great, but finishing the 2021 season as the top-ranked team and Super Bowl Champions is what the Browns are trying to achieve.