Grantland Power Rankings: Cleveland Browns rank fifteenth

Grantland’s Bill Simmons released half of his NFL power rankings Thursday (the AFC). The Browns came in at number fifteen.

“The stakes for Cleveland’s new brain trust, as pointed out by a Cincinnati reader named Clark: “Since 1999, the Browns have more staph infection lawsuits against them (2) than playoff appearances (1).” In other words, what’s the rush?

If you imagine Browns fans as prisoners who have been confined to solitary since 1999, it makes a little more sense. When someone gets out of solitary (or in this case, 14 years of Butch Davis, Romeo Crennel, Tim Couch, Derek Anderson, Pat Shurmur, Brady Quinn, Chris Palmer, Colt McCoy and everyone else), they don’t need a fancy five-course meal right out of the gate. They’d be overjoyed with a juicy burger, some well-cooked fries and a fizzy soda. And that’s what the Browns are offering them this season: Instead of panicking and trying to win right away with one of those goofy Carson Palmer–type trades, they’re building around their lines, their defense, their running game, the Dawg Pound and a relentless series of 13-10 games. (UNDER!) It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I fully approve, and please don’t think this opinion was tainted by the fact that Browns GM Mike Lombardi came on my podcast at least 320 times since 2008.

(Here’s how you know I’m in the bag for the Browns: We’re 2,300 words into this column and I haven’t made a joke yet about the new Dream Team … that’s right, Norv Turner and Brandon Weeden. I really do think the Browns can squeeze out 9-7. And also, that might be the score of every game they play.)”

Definitely an interesting parallel between the 2013 Browns and a juicy burger for prison inmates. Of course, if the team ends up being more prison food, there could be a hunger strike.

[Related: The Diff: kickers, running efficiency and the AFC North]

  • Nicholee

    I don’t care what the scores are… If we’re 9-7 I’ll be overjoyed.

  • saggy

    i just don’t see why he thinks the Browns won’t score. I think they’ll be in the 20’s and 30’s more often than single-digits.

    10-6, Division Champs

  • bushyjon

    Is billy cundiff on this team?

  • Rick, I suggest you offer AP Power Poll in addition to (or in lieu of) the Grantland poll. Check their voters (below, jpg). IMO, it’s a much stronger group than the Grantland voters.

    They’ve got the Browns at 28th.


    Note that we play teams 29, 30, and 31 in his rankings. 3-13 at least!!

  • mgbode

    obviously, the sensible thing is for the Browns to be somewhere in the bottom third. Simmons is doing what Simmons does, pick one big upset for the middle. If he’s right, then he can crow about it all season. If he’s wrong, then he’ll never mention it again (and if brought up, hey, I was throwing them a bone).

  • maxfnmloans

    He even admits in the article that he is in the tank for Lombardi…

  • Natedawg86

    At first glance I was excited. Second glance I saw the words “AFC rankings” and thought wait, 15th rank is only above one other team in the AFC, then I saw the article and saw that they were ranked 15th and that the blanks still needed to be filled in by the NFC teams. I would be thrilled if we ended up in top half of league. Just need to stay out of bottom 3rd.

  • woofersus

    I frequently think Simmons doesn’t make any sense, and I think that this time too. It’s nice that it’s sort of in our favor though. I thought that only happened for east coast fans.

  • gct

    10-6? I appreciate your optimism.


    The fact that he has Denver 8th and the Patriots 2nd without any real substantive reasoning beyond “Von Miller is out” and “We ignored Aaron Hernandez” is a bit… off. To me, at least.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Yep… if the Patriots were in the NFC West, I’m not sure they’d even be in the top 2 of their own division. Homer alert.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Agreed, the AP is equally as uninformed. Their AFC North topics usually start with “because they’re the Browns” and end with “because they’re the Steelers.”

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Adding to this, Grantland’s Bill Barnwell included this gem of a statement in his “Rising Teams” article: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9632961/bill-barnwell-nfl-teams-better-2013

    “Brandon Weeden is not a good quarterback. Let’s get past that right now.”

    It’s nice to be included in an article about teams who should be better this season, but that first statement really rubs me the wrong way. For a guy who admits how terrible Pat Shurmur was as a coach, I don’t really understand how he could make such a definitive statement about a rookie QB who was playing in an offense that is now universally pronounced as a bad fit for his skill set. Yet another example of a national writer thinking that because Weeden is “old”, he’s already reached his peak as an NFL QB. Dumb, especially from a guy who is known to look more at numbers and probabilities than go with gut reactions.