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NFL Power Rankings: Despite win, Browns only move up one spot heading into Week 8

The national media was cautious to think much about the Browns’ win over the Bengals, especially with OBJ now out.

Here is a summary of how the Cleveland Browns are viewed across mainstream media outlets in NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season.

CBS Sports - No. 9 (up 1 spot)

So that’s the Baker Mayfield many Browns fans were waiting to see. Can he continue his hot second half against the Bengals the rest of the way?

ESPN - No. 14 (down 1 spot)

With Odell Beckham Jr. out for the season with a torn ACL, the onus will fall on Higgins to replace him in the lineup. Higgins and QB Baker Mayfield, who also are close friends, have enjoyed a rapport on the field going back to Mayfield’s rookie season in 2018. The Browns will need Higgins to be Mayfield’s security blanket alongside new No. 1 WR Jarvis Landry if the Browns are to finally snap the league’s longest playoff drought, which dates to 2002. - No. 12 (up 3 spots)

A hugely important performance by Baker Mayfield, who silenced the doubters (temporarily, anyway) in a 37-34 shootout win over the Bengals. After starting the game 0-for-5 with an interception on his first throw, Mayfield completed 22 of his final 23 attempts, posting a perfect passer rating in the final three quarters. Baker’s only incompletion was a clock-killing spike that preceded his game-winning 24-yard touchdown strike to Donovan People-Jones in the final minute. Baker went on his rampage without Odell Beckham, who suffered a knee injury on Mayfield’s initial pick that was later diagnosed as a season-ending ACL tear. A crushing blow for Beckham, but Sunday showed us the Browns can still be explosive without their high-profile star.

Sporting News - No. 14 (down 1 spot)

The Browns looked like they would be burned with Baker Mayfield again, but then something weird happened. Odell Beckham Jr. went down with a knee injury and Mayfield suddenly caught fire, looking like the promising rookie operating without OBJ. Don’t sleep on that being the third-year breakthrough he needed, outdueling long-time future rival Joe Burrow.

Yahoo Sports - No. 12 (up 3 spots)

Odell Beckham Jr.’s season-ending injury stings. But the truth is, in 23 Browns games, he has averaged 58.9 receiving yards per game with just seven touchdowns. It’s a big name and Beckham has an impact that stats don’t always show, but football-wise, it might not be a crushing blow.

Bleacher Report - No. 13 (up 1 spot)

When Baker Mayfield missed on his first five passes with an interception in the first quarter against the Bengals on Sunday, it looked like the grumbles about his play of late were only going to get louder. Over the last three quarters of a wild comeback win, though, Mayfield was essentially perfect. By game’s end. Mayfield had thrown for 297 yards and five touchdowns—and the Browns were sitting at 5-2.

“He’s such a competitor. He doesn’t give up,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters of Mayfield after the game. “He didn’t back down. Every time I looked at him on the sidelines, he had that steely look in his eyes.”

The Browns now sit one win shy of last year’s total with the 2020 season not even halfway over. But the victory in Cincinnati came at a high cost. Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a season-ending ACL injury, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

Associated Press - No. 14 (no change)

Listed below is a summary table of where teams in the AFC North are ranked this week.

Bengals Browns Ravens Steelers
CBS Sports 28 9 3 1
ESPN 27 14 4 1 27 12 4 2
Sporting News 26 14 6 2
Yahoo Sports 23 12 2 3
Bleacher Report 24 13 4 1
Associated Press 26 14 3 1
Average 25.9
(no change)
(up 0.8)
(up 0.4)
(up 0.5)