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NFL Power Rankings: Browns, AFC North fall heading into Week 14

Pittsburgh goes up a pinch.

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Here is a summary of how the Cleveland Browns are viewed across mainstream media outlets in NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 14 of the 2021 NFL season.

CBS Sports - No. 20 (down 1 spot)

They come off their bye with a big division game at home against the Ravens. They lost a tough one to them two weeks ago, but need this to tighten up the division race.

ESPN - No. 19 (down 2 spots)

After quarterbacking the Browns in 2020 to their first playoff victory in 26 years, Mayfield has had a disappointing season to this point. He has been battling a torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder since Week 2, as well as injuries to his right knee and left foot. In part as a result, Mayfield ranks just 26th in QBR, one season after finishing in the top 10. The Browns are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. But they won’t get there unless Mayfield rekindles the caliber of play he unleashed in 2020.

NFL.com - No. 16 (no change)

Andrew Berry gave the media 30 minutes as the Browns began their much-needed bye week, but the general manager was too smart to offer the press the red meat they craved regarding Baker Mayfield. The former No. 1 pick has struggled through an injury-riddled year, but Berry was careful not to play his hand on how this season has — or has not — changed the team’s internal evaluation of the quarterback. Time remains on Cleveland’s side: Mayfield has one year and nearly $19 million left on his rookie deal, which makes him the likely starter in 2022 regardless of what happens the rest of the way. Mayfield might not be close to the lucrative long-term extension that appeared imminent last summer, but he’s not facing a doomsday scenario, either.

Sporting News - No. 18 (down 2 spots)

The Browns should have liked the developments of the Ravens, Bengals and Raiders losing during their bye, giving them new life for another run to the playoffs. They should come out healthier led by Baker Mayfield, who tends to heat up in December.

Yahoo Sports - No. 16 (down 1 spot)

The Browns’ season seems to be coming to a crossroads this week. They host the Ravens. With a win, Cleveland should feel OK about at least making the playoffs. WIth a loss, they’ll be 6-7 and have to feel like one of the NFL’s bigger disappointments. It’s a huge game.

Bleacher Report - No. 19 (no change)

The Cleveland Browns are like Lucy. Their beleaguered fanbase is like Charlie Brown. Every year, the Browns tease that they’re poised to make a deep run in the playoffs. Every year, their fans come running. And every year, those fans wind up flat on their backs.

After entering the season amid a whirlwind of hype for the second time in three seasons, the Browns are a .500 team with a floundering offense and a banged-up quarterback. And with a playoff trip looking increasing unlikely, an enormous question hangs over the team: Is Baker Mayfield the long-term answer under center?

To be fair, Mayfield’s struggles this year are due at least in part to a litany of injuries, including a torn labrum in his left shoulder. But four seasons into his NFL career, Mayfield hasn’t exactly lived up to his status as the first overall pick in 2018.

“There’s no way I’m giving Mayfield $40 million a season, or even close to it,” Davenport said. “In fact, unless it’s a short-term extension, the smart play for the Browns is to let Mayfield play out his option year in 2022. Because right now, he’s an average NFL starter at best.”

USA Today - No. 19 (down 1 spot)

GM Andrew Berry said of QB Baker Mayfield, “We expect him to play his best stretch of the year here after the bye.” Giddyup – though that might entail Mayfield exclusively handing off to RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who might be playing together more.

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

Bengals Browns Ravens Steelers
CBS Sports 12 20 8 14
ESPN 11 19 6 15
NFL.com 11 16 12 18
Sporting News 12 18 7 13
Yahoo Sports 13 16 8 15
Bleacher Report 13 19 12 16
USA Today 12 19 13 18
Average 12.0
(down 3.0)
18.1
(down 1.0)
9.4
(down 2.3)
15.6
(up 2.4)