The Cleveland Browns are in first place in the AFC North Division.
Let that sink in for a moment before we move on.
The Browns have reached the top of the toughest division in the NFL by winning five of their past six games, a streak that includes beat downs of division rivals Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
They’ve also done it with quarterback Brian Hoyer doing what he does best – win – and with a defense that is starting to look impressive (just don’t look too closely at those rushing stats).
They’ve done it despite not having wide receiver Josh Gordon so far this year and with tight end Jordan Cameron battling injuries. They’ve done it despite losing center Alex Mack to a season-ending injury and seeing the defensive line hit by injuries on what seems like a weekly basis.
Most importantly, they’ve done it because the coaching staff has everyone buying into the program and they are playing as a team. They offense bailed out the defense early in the season; lately it has been the defense’s turn to carry the water.
“I don’t think many people gave us a chance, but the people in that [locker] room believed, and I think the greatest thing about our team is we play as a team,” Hoyer said on Thursday night after win against Cincinnati. “In the NFL, that’s where you have a lot of guys who are out for their selves, and this team plays for each other. As long as we do that, we can do special things.”
Just how special remains to be seen. The Browns have seven games to go and are currently in the playoff conversation as New England and Denver are the only AFC teams with fewer losses than the Browns.
To help everyone get through a Sunday with no Browns, we’ve put together another blue ribbon panel to talk about what the final seven games have in store for the Browns. Joining us today are:
Jeff Rich, a Senior NFL Writer at More Than a Fan; co-host of Rapid React on MTAF Cleveland, which can be heard immediately after every Browns game; and who can also be heard live on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at sportsbyline.com. Find him on Twitter @JRichRadio.
Jared Mueller, an editor at Dawg Pound Daily. Follow him on Twitter @JaredKMueller and @DawgPoundDaily.
Mike Burgermeister, proprietor of 603brown.com and Grand Poobah of Cheddar Bay. Follow him on Twitter @603_brown.
Ryan Alton from Draft Browns, who can be found on Twitter @RyInCBus.
Dave Kolonich, who’s been known to hang around on Twitter @DaveKolonich.