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Browns NFL Power Rankings: Cleveland dips back to 3rd in AFC North heading into Week 13

Cleveland’s offense is scaring the national media away.

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Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Here is a summary of how the Cleveland Browns are viewed across mainstream media outlets in NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 13 of the 2023 NFL season.

CBS Sports - No. 16 (down 9 spots)

They would still be in the playoffs if they started today, but that was not a good look for this group in losing to Denver. The defense let them down.

ESPN - No. 11 (down 3 spots)

Offense: 29
Defense: 1
Special teams: 12

The Browns have an awesome defense. They’ve been stellar on special teams. But injuries have killed their offense and prevented this from becoming a complete team. All-Pro running back Nick Chubb (knee) and franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson (shoulder) have already had season-ending surgeries. But the Browns have still found a way to keep their playoff hopes intact, manufacturing a franchise-record four winning drives in the final two minutes of regulation. Unfortunately, with a limited offense, the margin for error for Cleveland is slim — even with a spectacular defense. - No. 10 (no change)

With another week comes another QB situation for Cleveland. Dorian Thompson-Robinson was playing relatively well when he suffered a concussion and left Sunday’s loss to Denver. In came PJ Walker, who connected on just 6 of his 13 pass attempts and was sacked for a safety late. Say what you will about Walker, but he did quarterback the important wins over the 49ers and Colts and would figure to be the first option this Sunday against the Rams if DTR can’t go. But don’t forget: Cleveland also signed Joe Flacco to the practice squad, and if things get dicey down the stretch, you can’t rule out a fourth QB taking a start for the 7-4 Browns. They remain in a better spot to make the playoffs than to miss them, but QB uncertainty and a suddenly struggling run defense are cropping up at exactly the wrong time.

Sporting News - No. 11 (down 2 spots)

The Browns are now into the tank offensively with their quarterback mess as neither Dorian Thompson-Robinson nor P.J. Walker can give them enough answers. It’s such a shame to see them starting to waste their historically good defense.

Yahoo Sports - No. 11 (down 2 spots)

It seems like the Browns might turn to Joe Flacco, with Dorian Thompson-Robinson entering the concussion protocol after taking a huge hit against the Broncos. Here’s a spoiler: Flacco won’t be the answer to the Browns’ offensive issues. He had a 75.2 passer rating last season and it’s unlikely he got better during an offseason on the couch at age 38.

Bleacher Report - No. 14 (down 6 spots)

It was bound to happen sooner or later. For all the success the Cleveland Browns have had in the face of adversity, at some point all the injuries were just going to be too much to overcome. And with rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (concussion) and star edge-rusher Myles Garrett (shoulder) and top wide receiver Amari Cooper (ribs) sidelined Sunday in Denver, it finally was.

Garrett’s injury has the potential to be an absolute crusher. But he told reporters after the game that he’s going to do everything in his power to get back on the field as soon as possible. “I’ve played through things that should have sidelined me before,” Garrett said. “I’m gonna continue to fight and gonna do what’s best for the team and for myself. We have high hopes for this season and what we’re gonna do. And nothing like this is gonna hold us back or me back.”

However, Davenport believes this could be the straw the broke the proverbial camel’s back. “What the Browns have accomplished without their starting quarterback (Deshaun Watson) and best offensive player (running back Nick Chubb) is impressive,” Davenport said. “But now the team’s best defensive player is also banged up, and the team could be looking at starting either P.J. Walker or Joe Flacco (no, really) this week against the Rams. Right now, a late-season tailspin is looking more likely than a playoff run—and that’s a very Cleveland outcome to what was not long ago a promising season.”

USA Today - No. 14 (down 4 spots)

They could be without several key players Sunday against the Rams and may have to start recently signed QB Joe Flacco. Remember, this team had QB Josh Dobbs on the roster in August.

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

Bengals Browns Ravens Steelers
CBS Sports 21 16 6 9
ESPN 19 11 3 9 20 10 2 9
Sporting News 18 11 4 9
Yahoo Sports 19 11 4 13
Bleacher Report 21 14 4 12
USA Today 26 14 4 10
Average 20.6
(down 2.9)
(down 3.5)
(up 0.8)
(up 3.2)

What do you think of the Browns’ ranking this week?