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Analytics: Browns 4th best team, best defense in the NFL through Week 3

Ravens join the Browns in the Top 10

Syndication: The Tennessean Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cleveland Browns are 2-1 and, with one less turnover turned touchdown in Week 2, should be 3-0 going into their Week 4 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens should also be 3-0 but the failure of refs to call a pass interference penalty cost them a game in Week 3.

Browns fans have watched their defense destroy opponents. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, 14 of the 26 points were given up by the team’s offense. One of the Steelers field goals came after gaining just five yards on the drive.

Cleveland’s offense has had its struggles and is now without RB Nick Chubb (along with OL Jack Conklin) for the season. In Week 3, QB Deshaun Watson showed significant improvement despite very little help from the rushing attack.

The Browns finally had a balanced game against the Tennessee Titans.

Taking a look at DVOA (an analytics measure of how good a team is versus the average) we find Cleveland ranked 4th overall with the top defense in the league. With just three undefeated teams in the league, there is a lot of parity in the standings. The analytics helps parse that out more.

The Browns defense is 10% better than the next best, the Buffalo Bills (who are the top overall team in DVOA). The offense, on the other hand, is slightly below average and ranked 18th in the league.

Both data points back up exactly what we have seen on the field: A great defense and adequate offense. Perhaps Watson’s Week 3 was the first sign of life for Cleveland’s passing offense.

In Week 4, the Browns face off with another top 10 DVOA team in the Ravens (8th). Like Cleveland, Baltimore is better on defense (5th) than offense (11th) based on the data.

The Cincinnati Bengals are the lowest-ranked AFC North team at 23 while the Steelers sit at 17th overall.


Are you surprised by how high the Browns rank overall with this data?