With that whiskey-dick of a performance on Sunday, the Browns have not only eliminated themselves from playoff contention but dropped back down into the twenties in this week's rankings (#21). Cleveland had a scoring defense of 8 going into the contest, but a lukewarm talented 4th round rookie in his first ever start lit them up like Time's Square on New Years, causing them to drop all the way down to 15.
More depressing than ranking drops would be the performance of Brandon Weeden, which has seemed to have regressed the last 4 or 5 weeks. Is it Shurmur's fault? Is his scheme handcuffing Weeden? Has Weeds hit a rookie wall? Or are teams simply figuring out what he does well and taking that away?
There are a lot of rookie and 2nd year players starting at QB these days(13 last week), and it doesn't really take a lot of time watching them to be able to gauge their NFL potential, and Weeden's is likely somewhere smack dab in the middle. Better than Gabbert, Ponder, Locker, etc., but nowhere near Luck, RG3, and Kaepernick. Of course, things could always change. There ARE examples of players "getting it" after a couple years, and there are even more examples of guys that look great early crashing and burning.
But the law of averages says that Brandon Weeden is likely to never be anything more than average.
For his defenders, worry not, since he'll be back next year under a coach who (hopefully) knows how to run a modern-day NFL offense. So he'll get every opportunity to prove the detractors wrong.
Let's be honest - it's hard to care who the QB of the Browns is anymore anyway.
Enough about that directionless mess (Lombardi? McDaniels? Tebow? Mallett?) that plays the #1 ranked team this week (sure to be great fun to watch)... the real teams are honing in on Playoff position, and the rankings easily show who the true contenders are. Namely, New England, Houston, and Denver in the AFC and San Fran, Atlanta, Seattle (up to a season high of 6), and the Giants. I guess I should include the Packers in that mix as well since they can be dangerous if they get hot, but... just too many holes.
Just in case you were curious, the lowest ranked playoff teams is... the Indy Colts at #19.
Key: WP = Winning Percentage, Avg_PF = Average Points Scored per game, Avg_PA = Average Points Allowed per game, Diff = Points Scored minus Points Allowed (season), Rank_PF = NFL Rank in Points Scored, Rank_PA = NFL Rank in Points Allowed