3. Cleveland Browns
Like the Bengals, the Cleveland Browns started the 2023 season with two consecutive divisional games. After winning the Battle of Ohio last week, they went into Pittsburgh, hoping to keep pace with the now 2–0 Baltimore Ravens.
Spoiler alert: They did not.
After coming in at the number two spot last week, the Cleveland Browns fall to third place on this week’s power rankings. This is because of the close loss they suffered at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.
They did not only suffer an “L” in the loss column, they also suffered a loss to the roster. Starting running back Nick Chubb suffered a gruesome-looking leg injury versus the Steelers, and his season is over.
Like last week, Cleveland again showed off their formidable rushing attack with 198 rushing yards on 35 attempts.
Running back Jerome Ford finished the game with 16 carries for 106 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. He had a fantastic evening. Ford did not, however, advance the cause for running backs to get paid more.
We now have multiple situations in the AFC North alone where the backup running back was forced into action only to rush for a higher average than the starter he replaced. First, it was Gus Edwards who took over for J.K. Robbins for the Ravens. Now Ford does it in relief of Chubb.
Defensively, while the Browns can be proud of holding Pittsburgh to only 55 rushing yards on 2.6 yards per carry, they are certainly not satisfied with their pass defense. They lost track of wideout George Pickens, who lit them up for 127 yards and a touchdown.
Cleveland's record now stands at 1-1. Even though they have one victory inside the division, they are now in second place due to their head-to-head loss versus the Browns.
Therefore, in this week’s power rankings, the reigning ‘Battle of Ohio’ champions fall a spot from last week.