Browns continue to get lukewarm push from national level

Pro Football Talk doesn't seem to believe in the Browns heading into 2024
Cleveland Browns, Juan Thornhill
Cleveland Browns, Juan Thornhill / Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cleveland Browns shocked the NFL world in 2023 when they reeled off 11 wins despite starting five different quarterbacks throughout the season. Not only were they continually looking for someone to replace Deshaun Watson but they were also without Jack Conklin and Nick Chubb for the majority of the season.

Throw in the missed time for Jedrick Wills, Dawand Jones, Ogbo Okoronkwo, and Grant Delpit and it only becomes more impressive. It's also why they cleaned up at the NFL Honors Award show with Kevin Stefanski winning NFL Head Coach of the Year while Jim Schwartz landed the Assistant Coach of the Year Award. Not to be outdone, their players got in on the fun as Myles Garrett won the award for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Joe Flacco was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

Since the award show, they've added more talent and are getting healthy. So naturally, the national media is ready to buy what Cleveland is selling, right? Well, not yet.

The Browns are no longer being treated as an afterthought but at the same time, they keep getting pushed toward the middle of the pack. That was the case when Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk ranked them 12th in his latest power rankings.

Browns belong among the AFC elite

Rankings are always subjective and they're done simply for debate. Still, it's fun to see a team get the respect they deserve and while it's great to see the Browns in the top 12, they're actually seventh in the AFC meaning they're a fringe playoff team in these rankings.

That doesn't feel too fair considering they were in play for the top seed until late in the season last year — while dealing with a myriad of injuries. They were also the only team that knocked off both the No. 1 seed in the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens, and the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers.

As far as the teams ahead of the Browns that shouldn't be, a case could be made for the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Green Bay Packers. Even the Philadelphia Eagles are questionable at No. 5 considering they fell off a cliff to close out the 2023 season.

And if anyone wants to point out the Eagles added Saquon Barkley, just remember Cleveland was on a roll while Philly floundered — and they'll be adding Nick Chubb to that roster soon.

More Browns coverage