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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the tag “AFC North”

Browns earn a second chance at a season to remember

browns beat bengals 1There are no guarantees of getting a second chance in the NFL, but when they occur teams need to be ready to capitalize on them.

That’s the situation the Cleveland Browns now find themselves in after their complete beat down of the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.

The primetime win announced to the nation that the Browns are for real this year and tops the team’s previous big win of the season against Pittsburgh.

The win against the Steelers on Oct. 12 had the team and its fans believing a better day was finally here, but the Browns followed up that big day by falling flat the following week against Jacksonville.

Now the Browns have earned themselves a second chance after winning for the fifth time in the past six games.

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Browns vs. Steelers – What to watch for in Week 6

browns steelers previewThe Cleveland Browns return home today to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in what may me the most important game so far of the season.

After rallying last week against Tennessee to pull out the win, the Browns are looking to post consecutive victories for the first time in more than a year. Just as importantly, they are already 0-2 in the AFC North Division, so another divisional loss would make things exceedingly more difficult.

Today’s game also represents the second game in a five-game stretch where the Browns, while maybe not being favored, will at least be taking on a group of teams that are beatable.

“This is as big of a game in Cleveland in probably a while, just because of their record, our record, the rivalry that’s there,” Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said earlier this week. “I anticipate it being a hostile environment, maybe like nothing I’ve ever seen up there before.”

But before they can start thinking about Jacksonville, Oakland and Tampa Bay, the Browns need to get by the Steelers, which is never an easy task for this squad.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on today as the Browns look to improve to get on the right side of .500 for the first time this season.

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Spanning the AFC North

Jamoris Slaughter

We hardly knew you, Jamoris Slaughter.

As the Cleveland Browns prepare for their three-day mandatory minicamp this week – the final time the team will be together before the start of training camp in July, the team continues to tweak the roster and purge it of marginal players signed by Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi.

Last week it was the release of outside linebacker Quentin Groves, brought it last year because he knew Ray Horton’s defense. With Horton now in Tennessee and Groves limited last season due to injuries, there was no longer a spot on the roster for him.

On Monday, it was safety Jamoris Slaughter, who the Browns drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft after Slaughter missed all but three games of his senior season at Notre Dame. Slaughter spent all of last season in injured reserve as he tried to come back from an Achilles tendon tear.

The move leaves just four players from the 2013 draft: linebacker Barkevious Mingo, cornerback Leon McFaddene (who may not have a spot on the roster come September), seventh-round defensive lineman Armonty Bryant and seventh-round offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey.

Quite an impressive haul from the first (and only) draft from Banner and Lombardi in Cleveland.

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