Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
His Browns team has lost five out its last six to clinch another non-winning season. His offense ranks in the bottom third in total yards and his defense ranks last in stopping the run. His team is also the only one in the AFC North not contending for a playoff spot.
Head coach Pat Shurmur, though, said he's "not discouraged. Not one bit."
“I don’t lose faith on things," he said, via The Canton Repository. "I would hope and I would think [fans] wouldn’t lose faith. We’re busting our fannies to get this thing right. And it will get right.”
Hensley's slant: If you could draw up the most brutal first season for a head coach, Shurmur would be close to living it this year. Injuries have piled up all season. Players are showing a lack of patience, whether it's over a contract (Peyton Hillis) or role on the team (Josh Cribbs). The problem is it's not going to get much better this year. The Browns finish the season by playing the Steelers twice and going to Baltimore.
BENGALS: Head coach Marvin Lewis decided to focus on corrections instead of ripping into his team after the worst performance of the season. "We all feel bad about what happened. He knows when to get on you and when not to get on you," wide receiver Andre Caldwell told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "We control our own destiny to a point. We just have to win all four games and see what happens." Hensley's slant: The key to reaching the playoffs is getting to 10 wins. For the seven-win Bengals, their next three games (home against Houston, at St. Louis and home against Arizona) are winnable and critical to their postseason hopes.
RAVENS: Head coach John Harbaugh hinted that backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor could see more playing time. The rookie sixth-round draft pick played his first snap of the season last Sunday, when he picked up 2 yards in the red zone on a Wildcat-style play. "We may see more of that going forward," Harbaugh said, via Comcast SportsNet Baltimore. That’s something we’d like to do.” Hensley's slant: Gimmick plays always come across as signs of desperation, and the Ravens really aren't to that point. In fact, that play with Taylor was a head-scratcher because the Ravens had been running it in the red zone with success lately. Ray Rice and Ricky Williams have combined for four red zone touchdowns in the past three games. That's where Baltimore's focus should be inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
STEELERS: Jason Worilds could continue to have a big role on defense if he splits snaps at outside linebacker with LaMarr Woodley, who is dealing with a hamstring injury. Asked if the second-round pick has made the expected jump from his first to second season, head coach Mike Tomlin said via The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "It's in progress. Check back with me." Hensley's slant: Worilds has been solid this year but not as spectacular as others from the Steelers' 2010 draft class. With Woodley not at full strength, Worilds will have his chance to make up some ground on the likes of center Maurkice Pouncey and wide receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.