COMMENTARY | The Cleveland Browns are once again moving up in the world of NFL power rankings.
At 3-2 for the first time in more than a decade, quarterback Brian Hoyer had Cleveland playing like a real playoff contender until he tore his ACL via one of the ugliest slides you'll see in a football game. It's now on Brandon Weeden to keep the Browns playing well during what will likely be the team's most difficult stretch of the season.
Where the Cleveland Browns are in Week 6 NFL power rankings: ESPN
Cleveland moved up four spots to 16 in ESPN's list. The website's writers pointed out an interesting stat about the team's rushing attack: "Cleveland is 3-0 since trading Trent Richardson, averaging 94 rushing yards per game with 14 first downs. They averaged 56 rushing yards and three first downs before the trade." I do think it's far too early to say for sure that trading Richardson was the right move. That the Browns have thus far played better without the RB is undeniable. Let's see if that lasts.
Where the Cleveland Browns are in Week 6 NFL power rankings: CBS
NFL senior columnist Pete Prisco puts the Browns, who he called "one of the biggest surprises of the league so far," at 19th. He also didn't hesitate to point out that it's now Weeden or bust for Cleveland for at least one week. Prisco had Cleveland at 21 in his Week 5 NFL power rankings.
Where the Cleveland Browns are in Week 6 NFL power rankings: Shutdown Corner
Frank Schwab bumped the Browns to 15th in his latest power rankings. To compare, he has the Baltimore Ravens at 13 and the Cincinnati Bengals ninth. While I do think he is overrating the Bengals just a tad, I can't argue against anybody placing both Cincy and Baltimore ahead of Cleveland this week.
Where the Cleveland Browns are in Week 6 NFL power rankings: FOX
Speaking of the Ravens, the team's former head coach placed the Browns at 17. He also reminded Cleveland fans that the Browns finished the season 7-9 the last time they started 3-2. While it might be a bummer to suggest it to the Cleveland faithful at the moment, the reality is that this team going 7-9 would be a real achievement.
Where the Cleveland Browns are in Week 6 NFL power rankings: Pro Football Talk
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk continues to be high on the Browns. He has them at 13, one spot ahead of the Bengals. Florio didn't keep from dropping some reality on Cleveland fans, however, pointing out the following: "With Lions, Packers, and Chiefs coming up, 3-2 could quickly become 3-5." He's right, everybody.
Where the Cleveland Browns are in Week 6 NFL power rankings: Cleveland.com
Chris Fedor is working some gimmick with his NFL power rankings that I admittedly do not get. The Browns come in at 21 in his latest list. The 1-4 Atlanta Falcons, 2-3 Houston Texans and 2-3 Dallas Cowboys are all above Cleveland. I got a chuckle out of it, even if that wasn't the writer's intention.
Leaving the last power rankings out of it because that list is ridiculous, the math tells you that the Browns are a middle of the road team and average 16th in NFL power rankings. That's about right after five weeks of regular season football. Weeden is the big question mark regarding the team. I'm not convinced he'll be starting for Cleveland two Sundays from the posting of this piece.
For more: Weeden's career on the line.
Zac has been following Cleveland sports since a little before his birth, and thus his heart breaks a little more with every year. He has been covering the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the NFL for Yahoo Sports since 2010.
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