Best Browns/Vikings Picture I could find.
Each week on Tuesday ESPN releases their Power Rankings on Tuesday around noon. While they have no impact on the season, many look forward to their release and the debate that follows. Each week we will review the Browns’ ranking, their previous week’s opponent, their upcoming opponent and the 5 above and 5 below them in the rankings. We will look at how the Browns can climb in the rankings and avoid falling.
Thoughts: The Browns lost a relatively close game last week to the Ravens. Yet while the score was close most of the game, with the Browns leading all of the first half, the game did not seem winnable most of the time. The Browns dropped a spot after the loss with ESPN focusing on the pressure Weeden has been under all year. Only 1 more spot to drop until they reach the bottom.
Last Week’s Opponent: Baltimore Ravens
Thoughts: The Ravens won the game and didn’t drop to 1-1 but unlike the division rival Bengals they didn’t look good doing so. The Ravens defense was up to the task, but it was a task to stop Brandon Weeden, while the offense, especially the running game, was suspect. With such a performance against the second worst team in the rankings the Ravens didn’t move, it was possible they dropped a spot or two and should be relieved they did not.
This Week’s Opponent: Minnesota Vikings
Thoughts: The Vikings lost a heart breaker to their NFC North Rival Bears at the last second. The Vikings offense is still struggling to put the ball in the end zone but scored a touchdown on defense and special teams. Compared to their Week 3 opponent though their offense seems like a juggernaut with their 1 TD and 3 field goals. Adrian Peterson is still a work horse with 26 carries for 100 yards last week, how he fairs against the Browns front 7 will be interesting. The Vikings drop 2 spots after the loss. ESPN notes all of AD’s yardage has come from inside runs: Phil Taylor and the boys are up next.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Thoughts: The Bucs dropped 2 spots after another defeat where the offense seemed lethargic. The Bucs and the Browns may have a lot in common as the season goes on and not too surprising to see them near each other at the bottom. If either of their QBs figure it out they could excel behind great defenses and solid 2nd year running backs.
Thoughts: The Raiders move up 2 spots after their win against the lowly Jaguars. That game was seen as the Jadeveon Clowney Bowl but ex Buckeye Terrelle Pryor could sneak the Raiders to a few more wins. The Raiders will not be whole until after next year and all the cap decks are cleared and the new regimes draft picks start making hay. For now Pryor makes them interesting, but may win too many games for them to have a top draft pick.
New York Jets
Thoughts: The Jets drop 1 spot after a less then stellar offensive performance against the rival Patriots. Similar to the Bucs and the Browns the Jets defense is solid but offensively they have a long way to go to be competitive. Unlike the other two teams the Jets are hoping they have their QB in Geno Smith. This may be a case, like the Browns, where they regret his selection as it delays drafting a stud top of the draft QB as they wait for Smith to develop. So far he has been adequate to good, but can he be excellent?
Thoughts: The Panthers drop 3 spots after falling to 0-2. The opening week loss, close loss at that, to the Seahawks was understandable. Losing to rookie EJ Manual at the final whistle with no one covering the Bills #1 receiver is not as much. The Panthers offense has failed to get going, even after Steve Smith’s scapegoat Rob Chudzinski left. The Panthers have their QB in Cam Newton but have to figure out how to best use him and get him weapons or their fall will continue.
Thoughts: The Bills climb 3 spots after their win in Carolina after their thrilling last minute defeat of the Panthers. The Bills rookie QB Manuel has shown development since his time at Florida State. His release point and accuracy has improved and a win like this will do nothing but increase his confidence. The Bills have talent to make a push in the AFC East, which is now looking stronger then expected with the Dolphins, Bills and Jets performing much higher then predicted in the off-season.
Five (1) Below (When possible)
Thoughts: As expected the Jags bring up the rear after a poor outing in Week 1 and 2. Scoring only 11 points will do that to a team. The Jags finally scored their first offensive touchdown with a little over 2 minutes left in Week 2. Star RB Maurice Jones Drew is injured again which could lead to a long lackluster offensive season from the Jags. Rallies have begun to bring Tim Tebow “home” to Jacksonville. The Browns and Jags may fight it out all year for the rights to draft a QB or to sell off the #1 overall pick to someone who wants Clowney, a once and a generation pass rusher.
How the Browns fair this year compared to the 5 Above and 5 (when possible) below will be very interesting. Just like the standings change each week so will these opinion based rankings. They make for fun debate. You can debate me here on Twitter or continue the discussion below.