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 rose another 4 spots this week, making a grand total of 15 spots during their 3 game winning streak. The Browns have faced the #8, 9 and 13th ranked teams this year and face the 12th ranked Detroit Lions this week. ESPN noted that before the Richardson trade the Browns were averaging less then 60 yards on the ground with 3 first downs and now are 3-0 averaging 94 yards and 14 first downs. The return to Brandon Weeden could be problematic with a tough 4 week stretch.
Last Week’s Opponent: Buffalo Bills
Thoughts: Interestingly the Bills did not move a spot after losing to the Browns. This could be a sign of respect for the Browns or a note of how big the injury to EJ Manuel was. ESPN notes the quality start that new Bills starter Thad Lewis had last year against the Steelers, when he played for the Browns. Hopefully for the Bills Manuel is a quick healer.
This Week’s Opponent: Detroit Lions
Thoughts: The Lions dropped 2 spots after losing convincingly to the Packers without Calvin Johnson. His return would be a huge difference maker in this game but he could remain sidelined. Without him and Nate Burelson their passing attack is very limited which allows teams to tee off on Reggie Bush. The Browns have not given up a 100 yard rusher in 8 games but Bush is a different type of back. CJ’s availability may very well decide this game.
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