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NFL Power Rankings: Browns ranked 18th heading into Week 3, as AFC North sinks

Every team in the AFC North lost in Week 2, keeping the Browns in a tie for first place.

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 2022 NFL season.

CBS Sports - No. 17 (up 1)

Losing the way they did to the Jets is a bad look. If they take a knee late, they win. It’s that simple.

ESPN - No. 17 (up 1)

Biggest early adjustment: Eliminate coverage breakdowns

Through two games, the Browns rank 27th in defensive efficiency. The quarterbacks they’ve faced? Baker Mayfield and 37-year-old Joe Flacco. Still, the Browns have collapsed in coverage, too often inexplicably turning opposing receivers loose — especially in the fourth quarter — leading to wide-open touchdowns. That’s primarily why Cleveland blew a 13-point lead in the final two minutes Sunday — and why the Browns needed a 58-yard field goal to avoid squandering another late lead in Carolina. The Browns don’t have good answers for why this is happening. They better figure it out quickly, or this season will begin to spiral. - No. 22 (down 2)

When Nick Chubb rumbled into the end zone for his second touchdown on Sunday (take a knee, hoss!), the Browns led the Jets by 13 points with less than two minutes to play. New York had zero timeouts, and Cleveland had a 99.7 percent win probability. But 99.7 is not 100. A missed Cade York PAT was followed by a long Joe Flacco touchdown pass, a Jets onside kick recovery, another Flacco scoring toss and, finally, a Jacoby Brissett interception that sealed a 31-30 Browns loss, one of the worst in team history. “This league is funny,” Brissett said after the stunning collapse. “This one was tough. It just shows you can’t take anything in this league for granted.” Indeed.

Sporting News - No. 19 (down 5)

The Browns’ offense was a nice surprise in the home opener vs. the Jets with Nick Chubb setting up some fine passes from Jacoby Brissett. But the defense had a total throwback meltdown against Joe Flacco late and there also was shaky clock management under Kevin Stefanski. Cleveland likely is stuck playing a lot of close games minus Deshaun Watson.

Yahoo Sports - No. 13 (no change)

Jacoby Brissett was actually pretty good for Cleveland on Sunday. He was 22-of-27 for 229 yards. His only interception came in the final seconds when the Browns had to press for yardage to get in field-goal range. It’s not Brissett’s fault the Browns defense gave up two touchdowns in the last two minutes, or that the special teams couldn’t recover an onside kick. Brissett won’t be great but Cleveland will take it if he keeps playing like he did Sunday.

Bleacher Report - No. 22 (down 5)

This is a game that will haunt the Cleveland Browns for a while. The Browns did everything they needed to do to win Sunday against the New York Jets—at least for most of the game. Cleveland’s run game topped 180 yards on the ground. Jacoby Brissett was efficient passing, missing on just five of 27 throws. Amari Cooper had his first 100-yard game as a member of the Browns.

And none of it mattered. Late in the game, the defense collapsed, allowing a long touchdown pass and a desperation drive for the go-ahead score. Brissett’s one real mistake on the day was an interception that sealed the game. And lest they be left out of the collapse, Cleveland’s special teams allowed an onside kick recovery. After the game, head coach Kevin Stefanski was clearly disappointed while speaking to reporters. “Really frustrating to me,” Stefanski said. “Not how we play. ... We can’t let this linger.”

“A certain sentiment exists within NFL fandom of the Browns being the Browns, which means Cleveland will find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” Sobleski said. “In Sunday’s 31-30 loss to the Joe Flacco-led Jets, the Browns became the first team since 2001 to blow a lead despite a 13-point advantage with under two minutes left to play, per ESPN Stats & Info. The last team to do so? The Browns.

“A perfect storm of defensive breakdowns, poor communication, a lack of situational awareness on offense and then asking a limited backup quarterback to win the game resulted in the historic loss. Cleveland is just trying to keep its proverbial head above water until Deshaun Watson joins the lineup. The team can’t give away games like it did this past weekend and expect a positive outcome for the season.”

The Ringer - No. 19 (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 21 17 10 18
ESPN 15 17 9 18 12 22 10 23
Sporting News 16 19 11 14
Yahoo Sports 15 13 9 23
Bleacher Report 15 22 10 21
The Ringer 10 19 6 26
Average 14.9
(down 5.8)
(down 1.4)
(down 3.2)
(down 3.1)