AFC North Power Rankings: Post Week 2

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Sep 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) celebrates after defeating the New Orleans Saints 26-24 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

3. Cleveland Browns

I seriously considered placing the Browns a notch higher after limiting the Saints’ offense enough to pull out a win, but I simply can’t due to their first half versus the Steelers.  But no AFC North team’s stock is on the rise the way Cleveland’s is.  The Browns were able to come up with timely turnovers and leaned on the running game enough to top the Saints.  They did so without tight end extraordinaire Jordan Cameron, pass-rusher Barkevious Mingo and wide receiver Josh Gordon.  When Cameron and Gordon return, this offense could take some serious strides forward; no slight to Ben Tate, but Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, who I believe might end up being the steal of all UDFAs, are very promising runners who have likely matched any impact Tate will make.  Nonetheless adding Tate will only give the Browns a deeper backfield as they’ll likely rely on it versus throwing the ball often with Brian Hoyer.

Had the Browns played a better half against the Steelers, they likely would’ve came away with a win and their ranking would’ve most certainly been higher.  They are 1-1 thus far and their stock is rapidly on the rise.  If this defense can lock down the way opposing teams have experienced in the past, this team’s end of season result is as hard to predict as anyone’s.  They’ll be in just about every ballgame with an ability to grind out wins.  Add a little explosiveness and who knows where this team ends up.