AFC North Power Rankings Week 2: Browns make a statement against Bengals

• Bengals and Steelers got off to a slow start

• Baltimore suffered a huge loss to injury

• Cleveland Browns sit atop the AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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AFC North Power Rankings No. 1: Cleveland Browns (1-0)

There couldn’t have been a better script to kick off the Cleveland Browns 2023 season — even if Keegan Michael Key was allowed to work on one. 

Cleveland hosted their (sort of) in-state rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, and put on a show. The weather was ugly but the Browns didn’t let that stop them as they won 24-3.

Offensively, they took some time to get rolling but eventually, Nick Chubb started to move the ball with his legs. He finished with 106 yards on the ground but their two touchdowns came courtesy of Deshaun Watson.

While his passes were off in the first half, Watson still managed to run for a touchdown, giving his team full control. He was better in the second half, finishing with 154 yards passing and 45 on the ground. He also had a touchdown pass to Harrison Bryant.

The offense could have put up even more points if not for a fumble by Jerome Ford as well as a tipped pass from Watson that wound up being intercepted. 

As fun as it was to see the offense start to figure it out, the defense and special teams were the stars. Tee Higgins was a non-factor and the secondary blanketed Ja’Marr Chase to the point he started complaining about elves. On special teams, Dustin Hopkins made every kick — which was an incredible sight for Cleveland fans.

Right now, they look to be the most complete team on paper and had the best debut. That means they’re on top of the AFC North and can stay there with another win in Week 2 as they head to Pittsburgh for Monday Night Football.

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