NFL Power Rankings: Talented Browns make a big leap into Top 10, but Patriots are still team to beat

The Cleveland Browns are now the favorites to win the AFC North and some oddsmakers have them as a top five team in terms of odds to win the Super Bowl.

That's unreal considering they were 0-16 in 2017.

The Browns are indeed a talented team, one that improved greatly during the free-agency period.

Now they just have to learn how to win.

That's right, it's the next step. You can't just take talent and hope it wins. The team has to learn how to win close games. It has to learn how to win big games. It has to learn how to win in December.

These Browns haven't felt that.

So while the talent is there, it still takes much more than that.

Don't get me wrong. I love the talent on the roster. Not only did they sign defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson as a free agent from Minnesota, they made two big trades to upgrade their roster.

The first was trading guard Kevin Zeitler to add pass rusher Olivier Vernon from the Giants. Then they went back to the Giants and made a blockbuster deal to land star receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

That gives second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield a star-studded group around him, the best young offensive skill group in the NFL.

Again, though, there are questions.

Can first-year coach Freddie Kitchens and offensive coordinator Todd Monken make it all work? Kitchens is going to call the plays, but how will that all come together?

See, it's not just like you add the talent and it's a ready-made Super Bowl contender. 

Having said that, talent is the most important thing.

That talent has the Browns up to No. 10 in my Power Rankings, which means they are a true contender in 2019 and they are the top AFC North team in these rankings.

That's hard to believe since this was a team closing out the 0-16 season just 14 months ago.

Biggest Movers
12 Packers
7 Titans
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Patriots They typically don't do a lot in free agency, but they did supplement the roster and replace guys like Trey Flowers, who left, with Michael Bennett. --11-5-0
2 Rams Losing guard Rodger Saffold will hurt, but landing Eric Weddle on the back end will help the secondary. The big issue is Todd Gurley's health. --13-3-0
3 Chiefs The Tyreek Hill legal matter could be huge for this team in 2019. They also let go of their two outside rushers as they transition to a new 4-3 scheme. That could be impactful. --12-4-0
4 Saints The retirement of center Max Unger in the middle of their line could be a major hit. Is this the last year for Drew Brees? --13-3-0
5 Chargers Shoring up the linebacker spots was important in free agency, and they did that. They will push the Chiefs again in the division race. 112-4-0
6 Packers Adding two edge rushers in Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith will make the defense a lot better. We know the offense will be good with Aaron Rodgers. 126-9-1
7 Seahawks The young players who helped them earn a surprising playoff berth last year will be a year older and better. The key in 2019 will be whether Russell Wilson gets a new deal. 310-6-0
8 Eagles The health of Carson Wentz is the important thing for the Eagles. But they are still a talented team capable of making another Super Bowl push. 39-7-0
9 Bears They suffered a few hits in the secondary, which could impact the defense some. Even so, they still have a lot of talent on one of the league' best defenses. 412-4-0
10 Browns If Baker Mayfield takes the next step with all his weapons they have a chance to be a Super Bowl contender. Can you believe it? 67-8-1
11 Colts They have a ton of cap room, but were selective with their signings. Bringing back corner Pierre Desir was a smart move. 410-6-0
12 Cowboys The Cowboys weren't active on the free-agency front, but did put the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence. They have to keep him happy. This is a team with a lot of big contracts coming up in the next few years. 410-6-0
13 Falcons Landing two guards in free agency to shore up the line was important for Matt Ryan. The defense should be improved with guys returning to the field. 47-9-0
14 Ravens No matter what happened in free agency, their entire season will be determined by Lamar Jackson's growth as a passer. 510-6-0
15 Steelers Trading away Antonio Brown will be a move that is scrutinized in a big way. But the Steelers still have loads of talent and now have a lot of draft capital. 29-6-1
16 Texans They haven't really fixed their offensive-line issues, which could continue to be the problem that derails this team. 411-5-0
17 Panthers It's all about Cam Newton's health. If he can play like he has in his best years, they will be much higher on this list. 27-9-0
18 Jaguars They paid Nick Foles a lot of money to be their quarterback, a clear sign they feel like they can contend again. With that defense, they might push for the division if Foles can improve the passing game. 35-11-0
19 Vikings They brought back Anthony Barr after he changed his mind about signing with the Jets, but the offensive line remains a trouble spot. 48-7-1
20 Jets They made a lot of big moves in free agency -- the biggest being the signing of running back Le'Veon Bell -- to help Sam Darnold. The big need now is an edge rusher. 114-12-0
21 Titans They made some nice additions to the offense landing guard Rodger Saffold and slot receiver Adam Humphries, so now it's all on the growth of Marcus Mariota. 79-7-0
22 49ers The trade to land Dee Ford from the Chiefs gives them a heck of a defensive front and Kwon Alexander will improve the linebacker group. But it's about the return of Jimmy Garoppolo for this team. 24-12-0
23 Broncos Is Joe Flacco an upgrade over Case Keenum? He is for sure, but how much? Do they still draft a quarterback? --6-10-0
24 Bills They made some smart moves in free agency to help second-year quarterback Josh Allen. This is a team a year away from being a contender in the division. 26-10-0
25 Buccaneers They did little in free agency to address their defensive issues, which means the draft has to be focused there. They also lost linebacker Kwon Alexander to the 49ers. 45-11-0
26 Bengals The offensive line remains a big issue for new coach Zac Taylor. In the AFC North, they are the clear bottom team for now. 16-10-0
27 Raiders They made a big splash landing Antonio Brown and then adding some other solid players in free agency. But it's still not good enough. 34-12-0
28 Redskins They have Colt McCoy and Case Keenum at quarterback for now. Is that good enough to push for the division? Probably not. 27-9-0
29 Lions They helped their team with some free-agent moves, like signing Trey Flowers, but they are still the fourth team in the NFC North. 26-10-0
30 Cardinals What the deal with Josh Rosen? Is he being traded so they can take Kyler Murray? 23-13-0
31 Giants They appear to be in complete rebuild mode after trading Odell Beckham Jr. So why are they keeping Eli Manning? 75-11-0
32 Dolphins So it's Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback? Hey, they had to sign somebody to aid the tanking. 47-9-0
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories