After Cleveland Browns' Victory, AFC North Gets Flipped On Its Head

By Brian Skinnell
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Please raise your hand if at season’s start, you thought that the AFC North rankings at this point in the season would look something like the following:

1. Cleveland Browns (3-2)
2. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4)

If you’re raising your hand and you’re not from Cleveland, Ohio, you’re lying. Nobody could have predicted that the Browns would currently have an above .500 record at this point in the season and be in first place. I mean, come on, they’re the Browns!

Now, before you go and get all upset about how the Ravens (who did beat the Browns, I know), Bengals and Steelers haven’t yet played a game this week, just remember that no matter what happens, the Browns will have at least some share of first place. At one point, they were the door mats of the division. Now, they seem to have moved up to the door knob.

If you’re a Bengals or a Ravens fan, you can’t be feeling too confident about this weekend’s matchup. The Bengals will be playing the New England Patriots, who have been using a bunch of broken toys to tear apart defenses. The Ravens will be going up against the Miami Dolphins, who are winning games for reasons unexplained.

I know, there is still a long way to go in this season, but there’s something going on in Cleveland. After surrendering the lead a little less than halfway through the third quarter, the mighty Browns came roaring back with 20 unanswered points to steal the win away from the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night.

Defensively, this isn’t a team to take lightly. The Browns rank ninth in pass yards given up (212.5) and are fourth in the NFL in rush yards given up (79). They aren’t terrible offensively, but they aren’t amazing either. I do, however, find it funny that Trent Richardson still leads the team in rushing.

It’s still early in the season to go gaga over the Browns, but the rest of the NFL should take notice and not take them lightly. Stand up, Cleveland, the Browns are doing something interesting this year.

Brian Skinnell is a freelance sports writer for and contributor at Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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