CBS Sports - No. 14 (no change)
They can run it and run it and run it. That makes them weatherproof. But can they pass it well enough?
ESPN - No. 15 (up 1 spot)
What would they take back: Not adding another pass-rusher - It’s hard to fault the Browns for their mess at safety, considering second-round pick Grant Delpit was lost for the season with an Achilles injury in training camp. But given its ample cap space, Cleveland could’ve been more aggressive finding help for Myles Garrett, who is third in the league in pass rush win rate (no other Cleveland player is in the top 35). Whether it was being more aggressive in signing Jadeveon Clowney or Everson Griffen or trading for Yannick Ngakoue, the Browns probably could’ve done more to boost a defense that ranks just 24th in efficiency, even with Garrett.
NFL.com - No. 15 (no change)
You can blame all the Todd Gurley shaming a few weeks back for Nick Chubb costing you a fantasy win (and maybe your house?) by going out of bounds at the 1-yard line on Sunday, but let’s keep our eyes on the bigger picture: The Browns are 6-3, and Chubb’s return from injury was a huge lift. Heavy rain and wind in Cleveland played a significant factor in Baker Mayfield’s low yardage total against Houston, but we’re also getting to the place where it’s fair to wonder if the Browns quarterback will ever be a true impact player. We know Chubb is, and his pairing with Kareem Hunt produced 230 yards on the ground against the Texans. Add in the all-world game-wrecker on the other side in Myles Garrett, and there’s reason to believe in, um, Believeland.
Sporting News - No. 15 (down 1 spot)
The Browns were able to hold off the upset-minded Texans in an ugly wind-hampered slugfest to show that they are capable of winning games with running and defense when the weather requires it. They’ll need a better Baker Mayfield in the second half, however, to make the AFC tournament.
Yahoo Sports - No. 15 (no change)
While the run-heavy game plan became necessary in a bad weather situation, Sunday is a reasonable path to success for the Browns. Nick Chubb had 126 rushing yards (many people wish he had gotten 127), Kareem Hunt had 104 and Baker Mayfield didn’t have to do much. Not many teams have two running backs this good, and the Browns are smart to ride them.
Bleacher Report - No. 15 (no change)
The Cleveland Browns have already won as many games in 2020 under new head coach Kevin Stefanski as they did all of last year. There’s no question that the Browns are better this season. The question is whether they’re actually good.
With running back Nick Chubb returning from an MCL sprain, the Browns got back to doing what they do best: running the football. Cleveland tore through the Houston defense for 231 rushing yards, with both Chubb and Kareem Hunt eclipsing 100 yards in the win. However, quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for only 132 yards. While at least part of that can be attributed to a second straight game in miserable weather conditions, the fact remains that Cleveland’s passing attack has been underwhelming for much of the season.
That might not matter next week against a bad Eagles team. Or the week after that against an even worse Jacksonville Jaguars team. But after that, the Browns face a pair of contenders in the Titans and Ravens. It’s going to take a better offensive effort to win those games and earn some credibility as a contender in their own right. But one analyst here at B/R is onboard the Cleveland Express.
“At 6-3, the Browns appear to have found a quality head coach in Kevin Stefanski,” Sobleski said. “He’s struck the right formula with a heavy reliance on Chubb and Hunt, who have combined for 1,094 combined rushing yards. As long as Mayfield doesn’t make critical mistakes and the defense doesn’t allow too many chunk plays, the Browns can compete with anyone given their approach.”
Associated Press - No. 15 (up 1 spot)
Listed below is a summary table of where teams in the AFC North are ranked this week.