Friday, September 29, 2023

Cleveland Browns Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 4 roundup for the Cleveland Browns in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 9

Biggest issue on offense: Passing consistency

The Browns are coming off a dominant win over the Tennessee Titans, and QB Deshaun Watson delivered his best performance in a Browns uniform, completing 82% of his passes -- the second-best mark of his career. Before Sunday, Watson ranked last in the NFL in off-target rate (27%). Did Watson turn a corner and rediscover his accuracy? Or did he and Cleveland just manhandle a porous Tennessee pass defense? These next two games -- against the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers -- should reveal whether Watson and the Browns' passing attack can actually carry Cleveland to the playoffs minus All-Pro running back Nick Chubb. -- Jake Trotter -- Rank: 9

After a pretty tepid start offensively, including a truly bizarre backward pass by Deshaun Watson, the offense really turned in a solid day of work in the win over the Titans, with Watson settling down and having what was arguably his best game as a Brown. Once again, though, the defense established the tone and really never let up. Tennessee crossed midfield on all three second-quarter possessions but ended up with only three points. The Titans couldn't escape their own end of the field in the second half, netting just 26 yards and two first downs on 19 plays. The Browns clamped down (without CB Greg Newsome). Cleveland's stars shined, and this team is back in business.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 12

The defense is special. Is it enough to carry them to the playoffs? Deshaun Watson was better against the Titans, which he had to be.

USA Today -- Rank: 8

Now look who's in possession of the league's top-ranked defense. And get this: Cleveland's D has allowed one touchdown this season ... while the Browns offense has surrendered two.

The Athletic -- Rank: 13

QB confidence rating: 6

Watson had a 123.4 passer rating in a big win Sunday, but there's not a Browns fan who is not still worried long term. For starters, Watson threw one pass straight backward (in the vague direction of a running back) while under pressure. He's 25th in the league in offensive EPA per dropback (minus-.20), and he's going to count $64 million against the salary cap in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

FOX -- Rank: 11

It had to be a relief in Cleveland to see Deshaun Watson play his best game as a Brown, but the real story in Cleveland is the defense. Five sacks and 94 yards allowed to the Titans. Derrick Henry rushed for negative-seven yards in the first half. The Browns defense has only allowed 18 points in three games. They look about as real as it gets.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 8

While we all gush over the Dolphins' offense, what about the Browns' defense? That unit is off to a rare start this season.

They held the Titans to 94 yards Sunday, which shouldn't happen in an NFL game. New coordinator Jim Schwartz has turned everything around. I still don't trust the Deshaun Watson-led offense without Nick Chubb, but the defense might be the NFL's best.

PFT -- Rank: 11

De-fense and De-shaun were more than enough for a team that seemed lost in Week 2.

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