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News » Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-10-30

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-10-30

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-10-30
If the worst of this season is behind the Browns, and evidence suggests it might be, there is still time enough to make the playoffs. Hard as it might be to believe, the Browns are only one game behind the second wildcard spot in the AFC despite a 3-4 record.

When the schedule was announced in April, it seemed only the division winner would come from the AFC North. But excluding the division leaders, only the Patriots (5-2) plus the Jets and Ravens (both 4-3) are above .500 in the AFC. Five non-division leaders are above .500 in the NFC.

On Sunday afternoon in Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Browns have a chance to get to even with one of those teams. They host the Ravens in a rematch of a game the Browns lost, 28-10, in Baltimore in September.

The early loss to the Ravens left the Browns at 0-3. Since then they have won three of four. The turnaround began by beating the Giants, 35-14, in a Monday night game. They are coming off a hard-fought 23-17 victory in Jacksonville. The Jaguars won three of four before the Browns beat them.

"If my guys will come to play the way they played (against Jacksonville), then we're going to be in it and we're going to have a chance," coach Romeo Crennel said.

The Browns have been through a lot of turmoil already this season and it doesn't hit the halfway point until Sunday. The low point occurred last week when the team suspended Kellen Winslow. The name on the suspension letter belonged to Crennel, but the decision to suspend him for making "disparaging" remarks about the team telling him to keep his staph infection a secret was not Crennel's alone.

There have been other low points. Anderson was charged with most of the blame for the 0-3 start, but Crennel stuck with him. Crennel still believes in Winslow and he believed in Braylon Edwards in 2006 when no one else did. Edwards caught 16 touchdown passes last year. He has had a rocky 2008, but Crennel believes Edwards can catch the ball consistently if he just relaxes.

No one needs to be reminded how poorly this season started. The schedule maker did not do the Browns any favors by making them play the Cowboys and Steelers at home and then sending them on the road to Baltimore.

While the Browns were opening against the Cowboys, at the time the favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, the Steelers got to play the Houston Texans at home.

It was no surprise the Browns were 0-3. They believe they should be riding a four-game winning streak, but they did not beat the Redskins because they could not score from the 1.

The slow start had a lot to do with Edwards missing the final three games of preseason with a lacerated foot and Anderson missing the last two with a concussion. Anderson has settled down after a slow start. He has thrown 105 passes without throwing an interception.

SERIES HISTORY: 20th regular-season meeting. Ravens lead the series, 12-7. The Ravens put the Browns in an 0-3 hole when the two teams met in Baltimore in September. The Browns are still trying to climb out of it after losing 28-10.

The key play in the 28-10 loss was a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ravens safety Ed Reed. Reed jumped a poorly run route by wide receiver Syndric Steptoe. The touchdown put the Ravens ahead, 21-10. Steptoe was playing because Donte Stallworth was out with a quadriceps injury. Steptoe's playing time has been reduced since Stallworth returned on Oct. 13.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 30, 2008

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Joe Thomas Name: Joe Thomas
Position: OL
Age: 23
Experience: 2 years
College: Wisconsin
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