The narrative of the Cleveland Browns’ nationally has been negative for years. It impacts how any move the team makes. It also impacts most grading and rankings. ESPN published their Power Rankings prior to the start of Week 1.
Last Week: 32
Brian Hoyer will get the nod against Pittsburgh, so for now Johnny Manziel is Johnny Clipboard. Hoyer was 3-0 with five touchdowns in three starts last year before a season-ending torn ACL.
The only two teams ranked lower than the Browns are the Jacksonville and Oakland. Sitting just above the Browns are the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans. The Browns moved up 2 spots in what seems like more about the Raiders and Jaguars than about themselves.
The Browns opening week opponent, the Steelers, are ranked 13th in ESPN’s rankings, up 4 spots, even though ESPN only notes the negatives about their once stellar defense:
2013 was the third straight season Pittsburgh finished with a negative turnover margin. Once a Pittsburgh hallmark, the Steelers’ defense hasn’t had more than 20 takeaways in a season since 2010.
We will keep track of a couple national publications and how they view the Browns comparable to the rest of the league as the season moves forward. For now the Browns seem underrated given their stellar defense, good offensive line and solid stable of running backs. The lack of a high profile starting quarterback, and Josh Gordon‘s suspension seems to be what is stuck in most people’s minds.
What do you think of the Browns 30th rank?