The Cleveland Browns just got their second win in five games and that is as good of a record as we have had in years. It reminds me a little of 2014 when we started out 3-2 and even went on to hold first place in the AFC North for a short period of time. As long as we don’t totally choke and lose six of our last seven like we did that year, I’m thinking we may actually have a shot at the playoffs.
Now, hear me out, because I am not saying that we end up with a better record than at least 14 other AFC teams and get a first-round bye. That just isn’t possible. What I am saying is that with our division being very much up for grabs, maybe now is our time to take that AFC North title. The Steelers are a mess, we proved that we can beat the Ravens, and personally, I think the Bengals are fake-good like they always are and will start to lose a lot more games real soon.
Let’s start with the Steelers, who currently sit at 2-2-1, the same record as the Browns. They don’t get Le’Veon Bell until after their Week 7 Bye Week and even then, I doubt he returns to his status of best running back in the league right away. I expect a good amount of losses for them up until that time comes. Big Ben has looked rather inadequate throughout these first five weeks and it doesn’t help that he and Antonio Brown have had their fair share of chemistry issues as well. They have a pretty tough schedule ahead of them like the rest of the AFC North, but they also receive the privilege of facing the Patriots as their one AFC East opponent.
Now, on to the Ravens, who we just dishearteningly crippled. It was a surprise to most, including myself, that we were able to pull off a win against them. They have an exceptional defense and a rising offense with Joe Flacco still slinging it and John Brown developing into a stud. I honestly think they are the best team in the division right now, despite losing to the Bengals in Week 2. With that being said, we beat them and so did the Bengals. So even if they prove to be the best team in the North, they are certainly beatable.
Lastly, I bring you the Bengals. A team who somehow seems to always play well enough throughout the season to make the playoffs as a wildcard and then consequently gets booted before ever seeing another playoff game. They are currently 4-1 and in first place, but they have also played some very average opponents. The only solid team they beat was the Atlanta Falcons and it was by a single point. As I said earlier, I plan on the Bengals regressing significantly and losing more games than they win the rest of the way. This is especially fair when you see that their level of competition improves as the season goes on. Plus, I do not believe in Andy Dalton and his ability to keep playing at the high level he has been. The law of averages would agree with me.
Every team in this division has their pros and cons and the beauty of it is that, essentially, we all have the same number of each. I don’t remember a time where first place was up for grabs as much as it is this year. A lot of things have to fall into place and work out in our favor for the Browns to make the playoffs. But hey, we don’t need to go 10-6 or better to see a postseason, we just have to be the best team in a crummy division. Keep your fingers crossed for a 7-9 first place finish.