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#pounditFriday, December 4, 2020

5 NFL teams in need of a turnaround

Baker Mayfield

Just over a quarter of the way through the NFL season, some teams have begun to separate themselves from the pack. Others are coming to terms with the fact that they won’t be winning much this season. For some teams — hi, Miami! — that’s expected, if not welcomed. For others, though, it’s an unwelcome reality that they want to change.

Here are five teams very much in need of a turnaround, either now or in the very near future.

5. Denver Broncos

This one counts as more of a long-term turnaround. Vic Fangio’s head coaching career has gotten off to a terrible start, as a defense led by Von Miller has somehow managed to be toothless and underwhelming, particularly in the pass rush. That doesn’t even mention the offense, where Joe Flacco simply is not a trustworthy quarterback anymore. The Broncos have needed a rethink for a while, and it looks like they’re finally accepting that. It’s the only way they’re going to turn it around long-term anyway.

4. Los Angeles Chargers

Injuries feel like the norm for the Chargers, and getting Melvin Gordon back should help the offense. Losing to the aforementioned Broncos, however, is a big red flag considering how lackluster Denver’s season had been up to Week 5. The Chargers still seem to be trying to figure out what will actually make them click, which is worrisome this late in the season. It’s not too late, and we know what these players are capable of, but the wins have to come soon.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending injury has ensured that 2019 is going to be a hard slog no matter what. Still, it’s somewhat surprising just how limited the Steelers have become. Their only win is over the similarly hapless Cincinnati Bengals. The big disappointment is that their defense has not really carried them after losing so many key pieces on offense. They took the Baltimore Ravens to overtime, which is encouraging, but they need to convert these efforts into some wins.

2. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have been a disaster, particularly on defense. That’s a real black mark for head coach Dan Quinn, who got the job on the strength of his resume as a defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. Quinn’s seat gets hotter with each passing week, and it’s never been hotter than it is right now after giving up 53 points to the Houston Texans. Atlanta is one big Julio Jones play away from being winless, and they never seemed to truly recover from that Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. They’re coming to a crossroads, and it feels like major changes may be looming.

1. Cleveland Browns

What has happened here? The Browns, subject of so much hype and expectation during the offseason, are 2-3 following an embarrassing blowout Monday night loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Baker Mayfield looks devoid of confidence, he has failed to gel with Odell Beckham, and the offensive line is a disaster. Injuries on defense, particularly to the secondary, haven’t helped matters either. The Browns are still only one game off the pace set by the division-leading Ravens, and the talent is there to turn this around. But this has to change fast — and there’s no fixing that offensive line on such short notice.

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