The Cleveland Browns were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday, as they fell to the surging Washington Redskins. But, sitting at 5-9 with the possibility of finishing 7-9, the Browns have had a much better season than many gave them a chance to.
Starting a rookie quarterback and a rookie running back, the Browns have played well above expectations and might have a bit of momentum heading into the offseason.
Joel Thorman of SB Nation released his Week 16 power rankings, and though the Browns remain in the bottom half of the league, they've jumped nine spots in the rankings after a misplacement last week.
18. Cleveland Browns (LW: 27, 5-9): Sometimes when you do these rankings, you don't realize how bad you screwed a team on their ranking until someone points it out. Browns fans at Dawgs By Nature were kind enough to point out to me that I had Cleveland dropping two spots last week, despite dropping a 23-point victory on the Chiefs. So, I apologize to you Browns fans. This is a more appropriate ranking.
Again, that's a nine-spot swing for the Browns. If you asked Browns fans prior to the season if they'd be the 18th-best team in the NFL, they'd probably have laughed at you. It's not that the team isn't good, it's that it's so young and inexperienced with a lot of instability in the front office and on the coaching staff. But if those rookies continue to play well going into next season, the Browns could crack the top half of the league.