Cleveland Browns on the move in weekly power rankings
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns may be 0-1 on the season, but they showed enough in the season opener to move up in the power rankings.
The Cleveland Browns may have lost another season opener on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but there were some positives to take away from the game.
The most refreshing was that the Browns allowed just 35 rushing yards and 2.1 yards per carry on defense, which puts the team at the top of the list among NFL defenses in rushing yards allowed and second in yards per carry.
It may be only one week, but it is a major jump from a team that has consistently found itself being ground down by opposing running backs on a weekly basis.
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Several of the first- and second-year players showed promise, and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer put in arguably the best debut performance by a quarterback drafted by the team since 1999.
That was all enough to give the Browns a slight bump on the weekly power rankings from across the NFL media world.
"No. 30: The Browns lost their 13th straight season opener, but on the plus side, they lost by only three points to a tough Steelers team. Possible overreaction: If DeShone Kizer cuts down on the sacks (seven), the Browns could be a competitive team. (Pittsburgh No. 1, Baltimore No. 14, Cincinnati No. 25)"
"No. 28: There were a lot of good things that showed up in the loss to the Steelers. They will be feisty all season long. (Pittsburgh No. 3, Baltimore No. 16, Cincinnati No. 24)"
"No. 29: Not everything was going to be fixed in one offseason. But coming off a 1-15 season, they lost by a field goal to a Steelers team most people view as one of the two best in the AFC. You can see the progress. (Pittsburgh No. 1, Baltimore No. 16, Cincinnati No. 24)"
"No. 28: OK, so the Browns lost. Maybe we’re getting carried away here by methodically moving Hue Jackson’s outfit up the charts. Yet, in light of all the young talent on this roster and the ballgame the Browns gave AFC North bully Pittsburgh on Sunday, Cleveland’s ascension is earned. Most relevant to the nucleus on this team – and the close contest in Week 1 – is the development of rookie QB DeShone Kizer. The former Notre Dame standout completed a few balls that would make Browns fans forget about Brandon Weeden and Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson rather quickly, while also flashing enough mobility to be a threat (including rushing for a touchdown). Not saying Kizer is the undeniable answer, but he at least makes it worthwhile to ask the question. (Pittsburgh No. 8 Baltimore No. 17, Cincinnati No. 29)"
The Browns will look to build on their positive momentum on Sunday when they take on the Baltimore Ravens in their first road game of the 2017 regular season.