ArrowChop: Are the Cleveland Browns ‘neck-and-neck’ with the Kansas City Chiefs?

Travis Kelce believes the Cleveland Browns are neck-and-neck with the Kansas City Chiefs. Are they truly that formidable heading into 2021?

Hello again everyone and welcome to another week of the ArrowChop! This is the column where we look at the positives/negatives of a certain Chiefs/NFL issue and look at both sides of the aisle. Then you, the readers, will come to your conclusions after I lay out the case. So sit back, relax, and enjoy as we break down this week’s hot topic.

The Chiefs have claimed the AFC twice in a row, thanks in large part; to great play-calling/coaching by the coaching staff, Mahomes’s and the offense’s dominance, and the defense’s ability to hold strong offenses at bay (excluding Tampa Bay). With every new season that begins, there are always new challengers to fight the kings of the respective conference. Next season, one of these up-and-coming challengers could be the Cleveland Browns. Recently, Travis Kelce stated, “… I think that the Browns and Chiefs are definitely neck and neck, for sure”.

The Chiefs recently beat the Browns in last year’s AFC Divisional matchup 22-17. With that said, are the Browns and Chiefs neck-and-neck? Let’s break down both sides of the aisle to find out:

The Browns and Chiefs are neck-and-neck

This side believes so as such:

Firstly, their offense is one of the best in the league. One of the best ways to look at it is through the two-headed dragon of Nick Chubb and former Chiefs running back, Kareem Hunt. Both players combined for 1908 rushing yards on 388 attempts (4.9 yards per attempt) with a total of 18 touchdowns on the ground. They also had a combined total of 454 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns from the air (all TDs from Hunt). These alone should tell you that this RB group is something to not mess around with.

There are also several intricacies within the offense as well. We can’t forget about Baker Mayfield, who threw for over 3,500 yards and 26 touchdowns with a 95.9 QB rating. The Browns also have a spectacular pair of receivers in Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry, who totaled only 1159 combined largely due to Beckham missing nine games (Landry had 840 receiving yards and three touchdowns). The Browns also have one of the best offensive lines in the league led by Jack Conklin, Wyatt Teller, JC Tretter, Joel Bitonio, and Jedrick Wills Jr.

This entire offense will give a solid Chiefs’ defense trouble in the upcoming 2021 season.

Secondly, their defense, for the most part, has been absolutely solid. In run defense, they are in the top half in the league, ranking ninth in rush yards per game, 11th in rush touchdown percentage, and 13th in rush yards per attempt. These successes are in large part to Myles Garrett, Oliver Vernon, and Sheldon Richardson. They are also re-building their defense; signing Malik Jackson and Jadeveon Clowney to beef up the defensive line, drafting Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the second round to beef up the linebacking room, signing John Johnson III to fill up safety depth, and signing Troy Hill to be the CB2. They also drafted Greg Newsome II to strengthen the CB depth for the team.

Finally, the Browns have a great coaching staff. Head Coach Kevin Stefanski has turned the Browns around. Turning them from a laughing stock, to a formidable franchise that can and will cause problems for the NFL as a whole. He also has three solid lead coordinators in Alex Van Pelt (offense), Joe Woods (defense), and Mike Priefer (special teams).

This is a team to not joke with, and they’re only getting better, they went 11-5 last season, tying first in wins with the Steelers and Ravens for the AFC North.

The Browns and Chiefs aren’t neck-and-neck

This side believes so as such:

Firstly, while the Browns’ offense is a superior one, it doesn’t stand to the firepower the Chiefs have on offense. Let’s deal with the ones we already know, Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce are no easy challenges for any defense. Helaire is tough to stop too, shedding tackles like it’s nothing. The Chiefs have also reinforced their offensive line (Orlando Brown Jr, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Andrew Blythe, Kyle Long, and Lucas Niang (coming back from opt-out), which could now be a top-ten, quite possibly top-five, o-line that can hold off even the best defensive lines and linebackers.

Adding onto the previous point, this offense could easily light the Browns’ pass defense through the air, which ranked 27th in pass yards per game (265.4 per game) and 26th in pass touchdowns per game (two per game). Of course, it’s a different year with brand new players, but that doesn’t change the fact of how their pass defense struggled last season.

Do you think the Browns and Chiefs are neck-and-neck? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @HunterStanton8 and @ArrowheadLive. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day.