ESPN Power Rankings: Week 2 Review


Just like the NFL Mock Drafts that we shared earlier, the Cleveland Browns have control of the results of the ESPN Power Rankings (New Window). Their play on the field will dictate just how high, or low, they will be on this list. ESPN, much like college football polls, takes into account previous rankings and their pre-season expectations. We will first look at the Browns rankings then take a gander at the team’s previous and future opponent and where they fall on the list:

"23Browns1-16Last Week: 29Terrence West had 90 yards from scrimmage Sunday, the first rookie running back with at least 90 yards from scrimmage in Weeks 1 and 2 since 2008 (Chris Johnson and Matt Forte)."

Moving up 6 from last week is a pretty good climb for a team expected to stay near the bottom of both the standings and power rankings for most of the year. The Browns beat a very good team and West has had a great start to his rookie season. Isaiah Crowell has also pitched in to create a dynamic, young backfield: The Baby Backs. They are growing up rather quickly. The Browns rank higher in the Power Rankings than 4 other one win teams. Yet, even though the Browns beat them, the Saints are still ranked above the Browns:

"16Saints0-210Last Week: 6Why are the Saints losing? The defense and special teams have combined for a minus-34 point efficiency, worst in the first two weeks since the 2012 Chiefs (finished 2-14)."

The Saints were dropped far this week, 10 spots, but remain winless on the young season. Only the Colts, 1 spot ahead of them at 15, are ranked higher and still winless. The Saints, who started out quite high and were still at 6 after Week 1 loss, could have a rapid descend if they lose again this week. A Browns win and a Saints loss should most assuredly move the Browns above New Orleans.

This week the Browns have a chance to knock off another team that sits above them in ESPN’s Power Rankings, the Baltimore Ravens:

"13Ravens1-17Last Week: 20Joe Flacco was excellent against the Steelers’ blitz. Flacco was 11-of-13 for 114 yards and two touchdowns when Pittsburgh committed extra pass-rushers. This week’s game at Cleveland could be tricky, though."

The Ravens are fresh off beating the rival Steelers, who beat the Browns in Week 1 and sit at #19 on the list. ESPN notes that this week’s game against the Browns could “tricky,” which could be an understatement. Could the Browns solid run game and disruptive pass rusher get them on the winning side of the ledger 2 weeks in a row.

A 2 – 1 start against three teams expected to make a run for the playoffs would be huge for the Browns. They would go into the Bye Week with their heads held high and expectations even higher. A good start is key to keeping Johnny Manziel, and the mania that involves him, on the bench. Brian Hoyer has shown he can lead this team in 2 tough match-ups. The Ravens defense could be the toughest. Conquer that and the world will be his oyster, well Cleveland at least.

What do you think of the Browns ranking?