Saturday, November 4, 2023

Cleveland Browns Week 9 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

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 9 roundup for the Cleveland Browns in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 12

This is not what the Browns envisioned when they gave Deshaun Watson a $230 million fully guaranteed contract. This season, Watson has played in only three full games. When he has been on the field, he hasn't played well (41.4 QBR). Watson continues to nurse the rotator cuff strain to his throwing shoulder, and his return date remains unclear. Backup PJ Walker has played valiantly in his place, leading the Browns on winning drives in back-to-back wins over the 49ers and Colts. But Sunday, his three turnovers proved costly in a loss at Seattle. -- Jake Trotter -- Rank: 12

PJ Walker has been a savior, helping keep the Browns' season afloat amid the weekly questions about Deshaun Watson's health. Though Walker was humming early on Sunday, his second-quarter INT deep in Seattle territory was a killer, as was his fourth-quarter pick with less than two minutes to go, which set up the game-winning score for the Seahawks. Walker's limitations have always been clear -- but now they're embossed in neon, with him logging six turnovers and a 49.5 completion percentage over nearly three full games. The Browns erased a 14-0 deficit at a hostile road venue in Seattle, taking the lead with less than three minutes left. But the defensive breakdowns early and late, plus Walker's inconsistency, kept them from winning a third straight in dramatic fashion.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 13

With P.J. Walker playing quarterback, they are limited in a big way on offense. It's time Deshaun Watson gets back out on the field.

USA Today -- Rank: 13

What's the fastest way to squander the NFL's top-ranked defense? Probably by fielding an offense that turns it over a league-high 17 times.

The Athletic -- Rank: 13

Something scary (for them): The Deshaun Watson contract

Every time someone in Cleveland tries to explain what's going on with Watson, it gets more confusing. The quarterback missed another game Sunday because of a shoulder injury, and no one is saying how long it will take to heal enough for him to play. Cleveland is committed to giving Watson $63.9 million of salary-cap space for each of the next three seasons and does not have a realistic financial out until after the 2026 season. In Watson's 10 starts, the Browns are 6-4 and averaging 21 points per game. That fully guaranteed deal is a lot to pay for mediocrity.

FOX -- Rank: 12

This defense is going to give the Browns a chance in every game, but it's hard when the passing game is sporadic at best — in addition to another three turnovers. I think P.J. Walker is doing a decent job given the spot he's in, but the Browns could be a true contender with better quarterback play. Will they get that this season?

Yahoo! -- Rank: 12

Kevin Stefanski was criticized for passing on third-and-3 right before the two-minute warning against the Seahawks. P.J. Walker's pass went off Jamal Adams' helmet and was picked off, and that led to a game-winning Seahawks drive. A run in that spot would have at very least given the Browns a chance to punt and make Seattle start a drive from deep in its territory. With the Ravens starting to widen their lead in the AFC North, that will be a loss the Browns regret.

PFT -- Rank: 14

If the Deshaun Watson trade was paying dividends, they'd be Super Bowl bound.

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