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NFL Power Rankings: Browns jump to Top-20 heading into Week 3

Even with a questionable defense, the Browns’ impressive rushing attach against the Bengals made the national media take notice.

Here is a summary of how the Cleveland Browns are viewed across mainstream media outlets in NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season.

CBS Sports - No. 19 (up 6 spots)

Their running game was impressive against the Bengals, which helped Baker Mayfield. They actually looked good in beating Cincinnati.

ESPN - No. 23 (up 3 spots)

Despite backing up starter Nick Chubb, Hunt has been an integral part of the Browns’ offense. He is averaging 79 yards rushing per game at almost 7 yards per carry. Hunt also has been a threat as a receiver, including a TD grab Thursday. That kind of steady production could be useful out of the flex. - No. 17 (up 8 spots)

The Browns have a formula. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were dominant against the Bengals on Thursday Night Football, combining for 210 yards on the ground in a 35-30 win that breathes life back into the team after Week 1’s grim result against the Ravens. The berserker act on the ground put Baker Mayfield in a much more comfortable position, and he responded with a strong performance that evoked memories of his standout rookie season. The question is this: Can this ground-and-pound act be replicated against a stronger team than the rebuilding Bengals? Washington’s fearsome front presents a greater test in Week 3.

MMQB - No. 17 (up 12 spots)

Under Kevin Stefanski, the run game has balance, Baker Mayfield gets the ball out on time and (for at least one week) Odell Beckham exists within the offense again. What’s not to like?

Yahoo Sports - No. 19 (up 5 spots)

Regardless of how we should feel about the Browns signing Kareem Hunt — nobody has mentioned the video of him shoving and kicking a woman in a long time, and that lack of true accountability is why some teams don’t mind taking on controversial players — he and Nick Chubb form a 1-2 duo that nobody can match. If they both stay healthy, the Browns might end up with a pair of 1,000-yard rushers.

Bleacher Report - No. 22 (up 7 spots)

No NFL team has a better one-two punch at running back than the Cleveland Browns’ duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The Browns got their first win of 2020 because head coach Kevin Stefanski took advantage of that. Chubb was fantastic against a porous Bengals defense, gashing Cincinnati for 124 yards and two scores while averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Hunt was even better on a per-touch basis, piling up 101 total yards and finding the end zone twice himself.

The Browns also got a better performance from quarterback Baker Mayfield. Four days after an awful showing against the Baltimore Ravens, Mayfield finished 16-of-23 for 219 yards and two touchdowns.

But even in victory, there were signs that the Browns still have work to do. Mayfield threw an ill-advised red-zone interception, and Cleveland’s defense was gashed for the second time in as many games, allowing more than 300 passing yards to Joe Burrow in his second NFL start. The Browns looked better in Week 2, but they remain more pretender than contender.

Associated Press - No. 22 (up 9 spots)

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

Bengals Browns Ravens Steelers
CBS Sports 26 19 3 4
ESPN 31 23 2 11 27 17 1 4
MMQB 30 17 3 8
Yahoo Sports 26 19 1 5
Bleacher Report 30 22 1 5
Associated Press 28 22 2 6
Average 28.3
(up 0.4)
(up 7.1)
(up 0.5)
(no change)