The Kansas City Chiefs are this year’s undisputed best team in the NFL. While it’s almost all but certain they’ll be back in the Super Bowl come February, one ESPN analyst believes another AFC powerhouse could give Andy Reid and company a run for their money.
On Tuesday, “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith made his claim for the Cleveland Browns, taking back his earlier judgement about the AFC North squad in the process. Check it out here:
.@stephenasmith has officially changed his opinion on Baker Mayfield and the Browns:
"[Cleveland] might be the biggest threat to Kansas City." pic.twitter.com/4K4KoyfXPG
— First Take (@FirstTake) December 15, 2020
“I gotta give the Browns props here,” the veteran commentator said. “Especially Baker Mayfield. If there was ever a day that Mrs. Baker Mayfield should be tweeting, it’s this morning. Because that performance last night was spectacular. Make no mistake about this, he was absolutely sensational and threw for over 340 yards. This brother was dropping dimes all over the place, I was incredibly impressed.
“We might have been sleeping on them. They might be the biggest threat to Kansas City, because of their ability to run the football. Not defensively, because we know they can’t stop Patrick Mahomes. If they can run the football, which we know they can do, and Baker Mayfield is throwing the football like that, I gotta stand down, and give credit where credit is due.”
Pretty high accolades from Smith, who has been on a Chiefs appreciation spree as of late. The two sides won’t meet in the regular season, but if the Browns clinch a playoffs spot, then there’s a chance we’ll witness a Mahomes-Mayfield showdown in the postseason.
Browns Lost, but Mayfield Nonetheless Had an Impressive Night
It was billed as the season’s best game, and that’s largely in part to the performance of both quarterbacks. During the Monday Night Football showdown between the Baltimore Ravens, the Oklahoma product recorded 343 yards, 2 touchdowns and an overall rating of 87.5%. Despite his best efforts to take down his foes at home, the 25-year-old left far too much time on the clock and with a quickness, Lamar Jackson was able to orchestrate a game-winning drive to end in a clutch field goal by Justin Tucker.
ICYMI: Ravens-Browns gave us one of the best games of the year 👏 #BALvsCLE
🔥 ALL 12 TDs 🔥
— ESPN (@espn) December 15, 2020
Mayfield’s heroic efforts won’t be overlooked. Perhaps that’s why Smith was quick to point out that Kansas City might have met their match in Kevin Stefanski’s men and not the Buffalo Bills, who did win their primetime matchup the night before against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mayfield’s Wife Fired Shots at Smith Earlier in the Season
This is not the first time Mayfield has been the target of criticism by Smith. In an earlier instance, his wife Emily quickly came to her partner’s defense.
This aged well…. 👀🤭 https://t.co/LU1PQi7gFa
— Emily (Wilkinson) Mayfield (@emilywmayfield6) December 6, 2020
Emily was referring to Cleveland’s 41-35 victory over the Tennessee Titans on December 6. Two days earlier, on Friday, Smith had this to say on “First Take:”
“I believe in the Browns. I’m not sure I believe in Baker Mayfield. I think Bart Scott earlier this morning on Get Up! said it best. There’s no quarterback who’s done less with more than Baker Mayfield. The jury’s still out about him. We know that they’re 8-3, but we also know that this guy’s only completing 61% of his passes, has only thrown for 2,100 yards over the first 10 or 11 games or so. And so, when I look at it from that perspective, 17 touchdowns seven interceptions is nothing to sneeze at, per se, nothing that that blows you away, but he’s not throwing an abundance of interceptions, we’ll give him credit for that.
“But look at what he has. He’s got Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt at the running back spot, even with Odell Beckham Jr. gone, you still got Jarvis Landry in the group and Hooper and those boys, so you’ve got a multitude of weapons.”
Week after week, looks like Mayfield is out to prove the doubters wrong.