Ugh. The dreaded power rankings when you know your team is not very well-liked by the media. Week 1 NFL Power Rankings are rolling out, including from our very own parent network, SB Nation. When I first clicked the link, I did not even bother trying to scan the list to find the Browns. I immediately scrolled down to No. 32, saw Cleveland, and thought, "of course." Here is what SB Nation had to say about the ranking:
32. Cleveland Browns (LW: 32): The pieces are in place to be competitive down the line but they will have a rough go of it in 2012.
I like how that works -- our team has the pieces in place to be competitive down the line. Why not now? There have been plenty of teams who have found success with revamped offenses when expectations were low; see the Atlanta Falcons when they drafted Matt Ryan, or the Cincinnati Bengals when they took Andy Dalton and A.J. Green in 2011. I am tired of everyone using the "tough schedule" excuse. Sure, it is a factor to consider, but it does not dictate how a team will finish. I'm more concerned about which teams improved and which did not, and Cleveland seems to have taken a big step forward in talent.
Over at ESPN, the Browns managed to be ranked No. 31 overall, one spot ahead of the Indianapolis Colts. Out of all the ESPN people, AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley had the highest ranking for Cleveland, putting them at No. 28 overall. In 2007, the Browns were ranked 32nd by ESPN heading into Week 1 and almost made the postseason.
The Associated Press panel ranked the Browns 32nd. Out of a 12-person committee, 11 people ranked the Browns 32nd, and one person (unnamed) was brave enough to put the Browns at No. 31. How nice.
Off the top of my head, here is a list of six teams I would rank the Browns ahead of: Jacksonville, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, and Miami. I'll have more on my slightly optimistic take on the Browns' 2012 season throughout the week.
At least Peter King thinks we'll be 5-11!