CBS Sports - No. 17 (down 1 spot)
New quarterback Joe Flacco couldn’t beat the Rams, and now they’ve lost two straight games. It’s hard to win without your starting quarterback, but they would still be in the playoffs if they started today.
ESPN - No. 11 (no change)
Pleasant surprise: OT Dawand Jones
The Browns drafted Jones in the fourth round this year. Initially, the team viewed the 6-foot-8, 374-pound product out of Ohio State as a work in progress. But Jones impressed during training camp. After Jack Conklin suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener, Jones was pushed into the starting lineup at right tackle and has thrived ever since. Jones has a pass block win rate of 86.8% and a run block win rate of 74.5%, despite battling various injuries over the past month. He appears to be a long-term bookend in Cleveland.
NFL.com - No. 10 (no change)
We don’t yet know Kevin Stefanski’s plans at quarterback, but Joe Flacco played pretty well for a guy coming off his couch a few weeks ago. Flacco’s bad pick started the avalanche that led to the Rams winning 36-19, but it was a one-point Rams lead with less than seven minutes to go and the Browns potentially driving to take the lead. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is expected to be available for the Week 14 game against the Jaguars, but Flacco had the look (for most of the game) of a player equipped to handle a playoff-like atmosphere. The Browns are hanging on for their postseason lives right now, currently in the seventh slot,. Cleveland’s defense, which has been mostly very good, arguably had its worst outing of the season Sunday. The Browns had better hope it was a one-game aberration, because they can’t win without that part of the equation.
Sporting News - No. 13 (down 2 spots)
The Browns are doing their best to save their season at quarterback and Joe Flacco was a good solution to get the most out of their offense. But their defense starting to break down and get ripped was unforeseen as part of their potential freefall from playoff position.
Yahoo Sports - No. 15 (down 4 spots)
Joe Flacco played fairly well considering all the circumstances. It wasn’t great, but he at least gives the Browns hope that the offense can be functional with him at quarterback. The best thing going for Cleveland might be that not many other teams seem to want those AFC wild-card spots.
Bleacher Report - No. 17 (down 3 spots)
The Cleveland Browns undoubtedly want to get out of the Pacific Time Zone. Since returning to the NFL In 1999, the Browns have played 18 games out west. After nearly getting doubled up by the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Cleveland has won just three of those games. The last time Cleveland tasted victory in the Pacific Time Zone was over a decade ago in Oakland.
West Coast woes may have been a theme Sunday. But the overarching one continues to be injuries. The Browns started their fourth quarterback of the season Sunday when Joe Flacco took the field. Flacco played reasonably well against the Rams, but he lost his top wide receiver when Amari Cooper was forced from the game with a concussion.
“Sunday’s outcome had to be disappointing for the Browns but not for the reason most would have expected going into the contest,” Sobleski wrote. “The league’s No. 1 defense let Cleveland down. In contrast, veteran quarterback Joe Flacco didn’t look out of place at all leading the Browns offense. If anything, a sliver of hope might have emerged that Flacco can provide a steadying presence behind center, as the Browns make their final push toward a postseason berth. Flacco threw for 254 yards and two scores in his first game action since January (with the New York Jets). Health is the Browns’ biggest bugaboo right now, with Myles Garrett dinged and Amari Cooper suffering a concussion against the Rams.”
USA Today - No. 14 (no change)
Among the AFC North’s current QB1s, Joe Flacco might be the best one not named Lamar Jackson. That’s where we are.
Listed below is a summary table of where teams in the AFC North are ranked this week.
What do you think of the Browns’ ranking this week?