Power Rankings: No. 18 Cleveland Browns

A weekly examination of the Browns’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 28 | Last Week: 21 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Cleveland Browns are inching closer to relevance in the weekly ESPN Power Rankings. Relevance for these and other purposes is hereby defined as “in the top half of the league.”

That’s not a place where the Browns have spent much time since 2007, their last winning season. In 2012, the Browns spent 12 weeks ranked in the 30s (a nice way of saying 30th, 31st or 32nd), and from 2008 through 2012 they were in the 20s or 30s every week but the first three of the 2008 season.

A rather impressive win over Baltimore moved the Browns back to 18th, where they were three weeks ago. They were “relevant” (see definition above) this season after Week 6, when they were 16th, but Cleveland has not been higher than that since the second week of the 2008 season.

Since the rankings started in 2002, the Browns have had only 14 weeks in which they were in the top half of the league. The goal the final seven games is simple and clear: relevance.