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2021 NFL Power Rankings: Cleveland Browns

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Cleveland Browns rank in terms of average, best and worst:

Below you will find a Week 16 roundup for the Browns in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 18

How hot is Kevin Stefanski's seat: 1. Cold seat

The Browns have been up and down in Stefanski's second season, in large part due to injuries and COVID-19 issues. But the reigning NFL Coach of the Year is in no danger of losing his job after taking the Browns to their first playoff appearance in 18 years last season and helping them to their first playoff victory since the 1994 season. -- Jake Trotter

NFL.com -- Rank: 17

The insidious nature of the COVID-19 virus put the Browns in a nearly impossible situation in Week 15. Cleveland was without multiple starters and key personnel against the Raiders, including its top two quarterbacks and head coach Kevin Stefanski. But the backup Brownies stepped up. Nick Mullens performed well as the emergency QB, and the defense thrived ... until Derek Carr drove the Raiders to the winning field goal on the final play of the game. At 7-7 with a difficult schedule ahead, the Browns now face an uphill climb to a postseason return. "This one hurts," Mullens said. "I really believed in the fourth quarter that this night was destined for Cleveland. Sometimes, it doesn't work out like that."

CBS Sports -- Rank: 18

Competing against the Raiders with a third-string quarterback and so many players out because of Covid is a good sign. But they might have to win out to get into the playoffs.

USA Today -- Rank: 21

Instead of being in the AFC North lead, they're in 12th place following Monday's loss to Las Vegas. Now they must successfully navigate the AFC's toughest remaining schedule (Green Bay, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh) to reach the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1988-89 -- though playing two division foes might actually present an opportunity.

The Athletic -- Rank: 16

Our gift to you: A gap year on the Baker Mayfield decision. We are bending the time-space continuum -- and the CBA rules -- to give Cleveland more time to decide whether a substantial long-term commitment to the top pick in the 2018 draft is the right play. The Browns are a longshot to make the playoffs after Monday's heartbreaking loss to the Raiders, and they head into the 2022 offseason with Mayfield set to play on the fifth-year team option. This offseason would be the time to extend Mayfield or potentially fall into an awkward franchise-tag dance at the end of next season. Our generous gift gives the Broncos an extra year to evaluate Mayfield before making a decision. Merry Christmas.

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