Cleveland Browns Season Preview

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Oct 20, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata (right) rushes the line of scrimmage against Pittsburgh Steelers guard David DeCastro (66) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 19-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

AFC North

The AFC North has often been a rough and rugged league with at least 2 great teams. For most of the last 2 decades those 2 great teams were the Steelers and Ravens. Over the last few seasons the Bengals have joined those ranks and now sit above the division powerhouses for supremacy. The division is not what it used to be and could see a further fall off this year before a resurgence in the following seasons.

The Ravens and Steelers are getting older and both have struggled to find a running game that once defined them. Gone are the days of Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu dominating the air and ground games respectively. Reed is gone and Troy is a shell of himself, mostly playing linebacker or freelancing on his own. Big Ben and Joe Cool can have their moments of solid play mixed with a game full of interceptions. Consistency isn’t the hallmark for either team.

The Bengals on the other hand have the most talent of any roster in the AFC North. Their offensive line isn’t full of big names but is solid, A.J. Green leads a deep and talented receiving corp and the two young running backs compliment each other well. The defense has been all world, even though the secondary has taken its fair share of lumps. The front 7 more than makes up for it. Andy Dalton is their biggest question mark. Can he carry them beyond where they have been or is that the best he can do?

The Browns defense comes in behind the Bengals but could challenge them next year with a year of seasoning under Mike Pettine. The lack of any offensive firepower is a big concern but they are the only team to decide they really want to feature the run, something the North has been known for but gone away from. Will this blast from the past attempt work out for the Browns or are they just being left in the past.

The state of the division is changed. The Steelers and Ravens used to put fear in the hearts of Browns fans. Now just their names and history do, the rosters not so much. The Bengals are formidable but somehow the Browns have been in the head of Dalton, especially Joe Haden covering A.J. Green. The division means the Browns route to contention isn’t as hard as it was a few years back.

3 Key Additions / 3 Key Subtractions / 3 Key Decisions / Biggest Strength & Weakness / Fantasy Football Contributors / Johnny Manziel / Schedule Evaluation /  QB Opposition / AFC North / Buffalo Bills Picks / Social Media/Connecting Predictions & Conclusion