NFL Power Rankings 2012: Browns moving near top 20 thanks to win streak

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns have won three straight thanks to a strong defensive effort, and although the postseason is still a longshot, there's optimism about a team with young talent.

The Cleveland Browns might be 5-8, but they're hypothetically still in playoff contention, and rising rapidly in most power rankings after reeling off three straight wins.

The Browns probably won't make it to the playoffs -- they'd have to win out against one team that's already clinched a berth and two others that are in the hunt for the postseason as well -- but the fact that they're there after starting out 2-8 is a sign for optimism. This team has already won as many games as any Browns squad since 2007, Trent Richardson will be good for years to come, and although Brandon Weeden isn't exactly young, he has 3,000 yards passing as a rookie, and the defense has held opponents under 20 points three straight weeks. With all those things combined, people have nice things to say about the Browns. Joel Thorman of SB Nation was rather pessimistic about the team in his Week 15 NFL Power Rankings, putting them at No. 27, but admitted there were good signs:

What if I told you the Browns were one of the five most underrated teams this year? It's true.

Most had Cleveland somewhere around the No. 20 mark: ESPN and FOX have them right there, while NFL.com and CBS put them one spot lower at No. 21.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Cleveland

You must be a member of SB Nation Cleveland to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Cleveland. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Cleveland

You must be a member of SB Nation Cleveland to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Cleveland. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.