Here is a summary of how the Cleveland Browns are viewed across mainstream media outlets in NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 9.
CBS Sports - No. 23 (down 2 spots)
At 2-5, is their season over? The schedule gets softer, but they have to be better. They did run the ball against the Patriots.
ESPN - No. 22 (down 3 spots)
Though he’s hardly alone among the Browns, even Mayfield would admit he hasn’t played up to expectations overall through the first half of the season. That said, there are signs of his turning a corner, including a steady effort Sunday in New England against the league’s No. 1 defense. Continuing to limit the turnovers will obviously be paramount. If Mayfield can do that, the rest of the offense could finally begin to realize some of its potential.
NFL.com - No. 23 (no change)
Another lost week for the Browns, who are running out of time to make something of a once-promising season. Sunday’s challenge was always going to be titanic against the undefeated Patriots, but Cleveland was not nearly sharp enough to win in Foxborough. We heard during the Week 7 bye that Freddie Kitchens’ team had committed itself to cleaning up the sloppy play that had undermined it during a 2-4 start ... then Cleveland came out Sunday and committed turnovers on three consecutive plays in the first quarter to fall behind, 17-0. To their credit, the Browns battled back to make it a one-score game midway through the third quarter, but a 59-yard gain on a screen pass from Tom Brady to James White set up the New England touchdown that put this one out of reach. Spinning forward, Cleveland finds itself in virtual must-win territory on Sunday against the Joe Flacco-less Broncos. Better find a way.
It’s general knowledge that turning the ball over against the Patriots puts you on the inside track to an L (especially this year). Naturally, the Browns coughed up four of them, including the potential worst pick of the season by Baker Mayfield.
Yahoo Sports - No. 25 (down 1 spot)
Freddie Kitchens was a boom-or-bust hire. It wasn’t an outrageous decision at the time, but it was a risky one. Sometimes risky moves don’t work out. This one clearly isn’t working out, and it’s starting to feel like Kitchens has nine games to save himself from being one-and-done.
Bleacher Report - No. 25 (down 6 spots)
The Cleveland Browns are their own worst enemy. For much of Sunday’s matchup with the New England Patriots, the Browns held their own. Cleveland had nearly as many total yards as the defending Super Bowl champions and averaged more than seven yards a carry. But that came after the Browns dug themselves into a 17-0 hole after turning the ball over on three straight plays—one of which was a Nick Chubb fumble that was returned for a touchdown.
It’s the story of Cleveland’s season. Unforced error after unforced error. In addition to all those turnovers, the Browns racked up 13 penalties for 85 yards. Despite a miserable start to the season, Sobleski holds out hope that a second-half turnaround is possible.
”All is not lost in Cleveland,” he said, “even though it seems like it. The first half of the Browns’ schedule was brutal, and the team managed a highly disappointing 2-5 record. However, the second-half schedule is far easier. If the Browns can cut down on their mental errors, a turnaround is possible.”
Davenport isn’t so sure. “The Browns are talented,” he said. “But they are also sloppy and undisciplined. There’s been zero indication that’s going to change, and at this point I don’t think Cleveland will be able match last year’s seven wins.”
Associated Press - No. 24 (down 3 spots)
Listed below is a summary table of where teams in the AFC North are ranked this week.