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Browns rank 31st in ESPN’s Football Power Index

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The Browns still don’t score too well on one of ESPN’s analytical measures.

In 2015, ESPN’s analytics department debuted the Football Power Index (FPI), which is a predictive rating composed of offensive, defensive, and special teams efficiency.

When ESPN unveiled their preseason index ratings at the start of June, it was no surprise that the Cleveland Browns were ranked 31st in the NFL. Despite all of the Browns’ additions, one might wonder if Cleveland’s ranking is still low because the hype surrounding them is more subjective than objective? That is true in part, although the preseason FPI largely incorporates Vegas odds, ESPN panelists’ opinions, and efficiency data. Basically, you have an index that merges rankings from three areas: betting, opinion, and data.

The Browns are the only AFC North team with a negative rating at -7.6. Here is what ESPN had to say about the division in general, where they have teams with the following predicted records: Pittsburgh (10.1 wins, 5.9 losses), Baltimore (8.8 wins, 7.2 losses), Cincinnati (8.3 wins, 7.6 losses), and Cleveland (4.8 wins, 11.2 losses).

The AFC North is once again set to be a tough division, with only the Browns not projected to finish .500 or better. The Steelers are the preseason favorite to take the division for a second straight year, with the Ravens and Bengals fighting for second place. If the division title race comes down to the final week of the season, take note that Pittsburgh faces Cleveland for the third consecutive season, while the Ravens will host the Bengals in what our projections suggest could determine a wild-card berth.

I still have a tough time believing the Bengals can finish above .500 with the losses they suffered on their offensive line. When it comes to playoff probability, the index says the Browns have a 1.8% chance at making the playoffs (comprised or 1.2% chance at a wildcard, 0.6% chance at the division), and a <0.1% chance of being the No. 1 seed.