You can tell it’s the quiet period of the NFL off-season when every NFL writer puts out a very subjective list of team and player rankings. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good list and for the list-makers, it provides more social media attention and sports talk radio can occupy the time for days discussing these lists. It also helps that most NFL fans overvalue their teams and players and the one thing NFL fans love to do is argue about their favorite team and players. Because training camp doesn’t start till August, these opinions are based on how a team looks “on paper.” At one time the movie “Ishtar” and the game “Lawn Jarts” looked good on paper. For those younger than me, “Ishtar” is considered the biggest box office flop in movie history and “Lawn Jarts” should have been registered as a weapon. Viewing team rosters “on paper” can give any NFL fan hope that its team is a Super Bowl contender. Well, maybe not Houston Texan fans. Like I said earlier, I like a good list and probably the best lists come from Pro Football Focus. You can never go wrong with statistical analysis.
The only true way to determine if your favorite team is a Super Bowl contender is to compare them to the teams who actually played in the Super Bowl. A novel concept, right? So how do the Cleveland Browns compare to the Kansas City Chiefs based on the folks over at PFF? The only way to find out is for me to make a list. Didn’t see that coming, did you? These are the individual and position group rankings by PFF going into the 2021 season, https://www.pff.com/
Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes #1, Baker Mayfield #10. This is a no-brainer even for Browns Twitter. Advantage Chiefs.
Running Back: Nick Chubb #4, Kareem Hunt #10, Clyde Edwards-Helaire # 28. The Browns have the best running back duo in the NFL. Advantage Browns.
Wide Receiver: Tyreek Hill #3, Odell Beckham # 18, Jarvis Landry #21. Hill is a game-changer and the ultimate offensive weapon. Landry is one of the best slot receivers in the game and Beckham, when healthy, demands double coverage. Advantage Even.
Tight End: Travis Kelce #1, Austin Hooper #17. Kelce is the best tight end in the game. The Browns position group has more depth, but Hooper was disappointing in 2020. Advantage Chiefs.
Offensive Line: Cleveland Browns #1, Kansas City Chiefs #7. The Browns ranked number one in run blocking and number two in pass blocking. The Chiefs made the right off-season moves to improve their weakest offensive position. Advantage Browns.
Defensive Line: Cleveland Browns #11, Kansas City Chiefs #22. Clowney can still set the edge and be a very good run stopper. If played in the right position, he will free up Garrett and McKinley. The Chiefs Chris Jones is worth every penny K.C. paid him. However, Frank Clark has been a disappointment. Advantage Browns.
Linebacker: Kansas City Chiefs #23, Cleveland Browns #27. This position group screams potential for both teams. As a whole, the Chiefs played better as a group in 2020 because the Browns linebackers were nothing to write home about. However, they did play better as the year progressed. Advantage Chiefs.
Secondary: Cleveland Browns #3, Kansas City Chiefs # 18. With all the new additions (Johnson, Hill and Newsome) and the players returning from injury (Delpit and Williams), the Browns secondary is going to be scary. The Chiefs have one of the best safeties in the game in Tyrann Mathieu and hit the jackpot last year when they drafted L’Jarius Sneed in the fourth round, but after that depth is a problem. Advantage Browns.
Based on the above list, it looks pretty close. However, there are other factors to be considered, like actually playing a game. The Browns gave the Chiefs all they could handle in the Divisional playoff game in Kansas City last year. Chief fans will point out they beat the Browns with a backup quarterback and the Browns have never beaten a team coached by Andy Reid. Browns fans will point out the Browns defense was last in fourth-down conversions last year and WR Odell Beckham did not play due to injury. If not for a terrible non-call at the end of the first half, a Browns score at that point could have changed the complexion of the second half. Well, there you have it, this is why off-season lists are great.
I made a list and ended up arguing with myself!