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Browns NFL Power Rankings: Cleveland moves up to No. 8 heading into Week 17

Meanwhile, the Ravens are a unanimous No. 1.

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Chicago Bears v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Here is a summary of how the Cleveland Browns are viewed across mainstream media outlets in NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 17 of the 2023 NFL season.

CBS Sports - No. 7 (up 2 spots)

Joe Flacco has to be one of the surprise stories of the year. This team is legitimate as a potential deep playoff team.

ESPN - No. 9 (no change)

Best rookie: OT Dawand Jones

Jones was having an all-rookie-caliber year before undergoing season-ending knee surgery this month. Jones, a fourth-round pick out of Ohio State, stepped into the starting lineup at right tackle in Week 2, following Jack Conklin’s season-ending knee injury in the opener. Jones was solid all year with a pass block win rate (86.8%) and run block win rate (74.5%). Jones looks like a long-term future Browns bookend.

NFL.com - No. 9 (up 1 spot)

What’s prettier than a Joe Flacco deep ball? Sure, he got picked twice on those in Sunday’s first half, but neither hurt very much, as the miracle Browns drove for three first-half touchdowns and stuffed their fans’ stockings with two more to start the second half in a 36-22 win at Houston. Granted, the Texans were fielding a battered lineup against them, but seeing Flacco and Amari Cooper (who racked up an incredible 265 yards receiving and two TDs) hook up time and time again was good enough for me to think Cleveland could be a real problem in the playoffs. The Dustin Hopkins injury is one to watch, though, as he has been so money for the Browns all season. But even with the questions, this team has a big-play operation on offense and one of the five best defenses — if not the best — in the league. That’s what makes Cleveland dangerous, even if it has to open the playoffs on the road.

Sporting News - No. 6 (up 2 spots)

The Browns have gone beyond the point of Joe Flacco being a strong QB fill-in to their best QB, period this season, as he is locked into top weapons Amari Cooper and David Njoku and the defense is responding with even more playmaking energy knowing it doesn’t have all the winning burden anymore.

Yahoo Sports - No. 9 (no change)

There aren’t too many teams you should trust as a Super Bowl contender. But every time you watch the Browns, they look more and more like one. It seems impossible to believe Joe Flacco takes this team on a deep playoff run, but if you forget about his backstory and check out the plays he’s making, it looks legit. As Browns fans will quickly remind you, this team beat the 49ers and Ravens this season.

Bleacher Report - No. 9 (no change)

The Cleveland Browns are all but certainly not going to make it to the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl this year. But the Browns have won 10 games and will (barring a dizzying list of circumstances that begin with them losing out) make the playoffs in 2023. That’s an impressive accomplishment considering all that’s happened. Running back Nick Chubb has been out most of the season. The Browns have started four quarterbacks and are currently rolling out 38-year-old Joe Flacco under center. Star edge-rusher Myles Garrett has effectively played most of the last month with one arm. Against the Texans on Sunday, the Browns averaged 1.8 yards per carry.

But thanks to another huge game from Flacco and a record-setting day from wideout Amari Cooper, Cleveland has won six of eight. One more win would give the team their best record since re-joining the NFL in 1999. For Sobleski, it’s been a collective effort.

“It’s easy to look at the Browns’ current run and shower veteran quarterback Joe Flacco with praise,” he said. “Granted, the 38-year-old signal-caller did help save the season. But so did multiple others the team can rely upon when so many of their teammates found their way onto the injury list. The offensive line has been in constant flux. The Texans didn’t sack Flacco once. Amari Cooper becomes the latest star to shine brightly by setting a single-game franchise record with 265 receiving yards. This Browns squad continues chugging along with the AFC’s third-best record.”

USA Today - No. 9 (up 1 spot)

Imagine how good WR Amari Cooper, the first man in club history with consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, might be if he could work with a quarterback for more than 10 minutes … though the 121.3 receiving yards he’s averaged with Joe Flacco eclipses Cooper’s career mark (67.8 ypg) by more than 50 yards.

Bengals Browns Ravens Steelers
CBS Sports 16 7 1 15
ESPN 15 9 1 16
NFL.com 14 8 1 17
Sporting News 16 6 1 12
Yahoo Sports 14 9 1 19
Bleacher Report 16 9 1 18
USA Today 20 9 1 19
Average 15.9
(down 4.6)
8.1
(up 0.9)
1.0
(up 1.0)
16.6
(up 3.4)

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