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Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Thought of the Day recap: Browns sleeper?

By James Walker
ESPN.com

Our latest version of "Thought of the Day" in the AFC North focused on the Cleveland Browns. With this division known for its sleeper teams the past two seasons, we asked if the Browns have potential to surprise in 2010.

Here are responses from our division inbox and AFC North Twitter page:

Browns are a sleeper!

Jake from Youngstown, Ohio, writes: I think the Browns can be the sleepers of the whole NFL. They have a great running game and they have a surprise for all of the teams: The new and improved wildcat with Joshua Cribbs and Seneca Wallace. Being able to run the ball and throw the ball at the same time is such a weapon. Jake Delhomme is doing fine so far and the defense is good, too. As long as the play-calls are good and Jake Delhomme doesn't do anything stupid, we will be great.

Craig from Tampa writes: Browns a sleeper? You bet. Behind a strong offensive line, they dominated on the ground to close out 2009 with four straight wins. With improvements at quarterback and throughout the secondary, this team just might find a way to compete in the brutal AFC North.

Jason Dawg from Prescott Valley, Ariz., writes: The Browns will be better than the "so-called" experts are predicting. Will they win the division? I seriously doubt it but anything is possible. A few years ago they came off a 6-10 season and expectations were very low. You'll probably remember they won 10 games.

MikeAmmo via Twitter writes: The Browns have all the makings of a sleeper. They're a tough, physical ball club full of overachievers.

Kovacs from Santa Monica, Calif., writes: We know that the Browns are going to play hard and play physical. They at least have an identity now, which is more than could be said since 1999. They have arguably the best O-line in football and an up-and-coming secondary. They should at least be competitive enough to take most teams to the fourth quarters of games where anything can happen. Any given Sunday.

Browns will be sleeping!

Bryan from Baltimore writes: Simply put, no. The Browns will finish last with a 5-11 mark at best. Sorry Cleveland, just like always you're still a couple seasons away.

Bob from Midland, Texas, writes: As an avid Browns fan I would like to say "yes" to them being the sleeper, but their schedule against AFC East and NFC South is harder than what the Bengals and Ravens have had. So it looks like another 5-11 season at best.

Siz07 via Twitter writes: The entire team is a sleeper. They sleep on Sundays. Enjoy 3-13 Browns fans.

Jeremy from St. Louis writes: While I respect the Browns, I do not anticipate them being able to duplicate what the Ravens and the Bengals did. There are simply too many holes to fill. The Ravens had a stellar defense and a decent run game. The only thing they were missing was a franchise quarterback to throw the football to their receivers. The Bengals just needed to stay healthy and keep adding talent. The Brown have a decent running game but their defense will struggle at times against other AFC North teams. I don't see them making a huge improvement over last year. They'll be lucky to win a game in the division this year. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they won six or seven games.

Darnell from Halifax, Nova Scotia, writes: I can't see Cleveland as a sleeper because they are in a tough division. Even with all acquisitions this year, defensively they aren't even close to the other three teams in the division. And once the season begins, Delhomme is going to see blitzes and schemes that are out of this world.

AFC North final say

James Walker: The Browns have a chance to compete but not to the point where they will be a sleeper in the NFL. The biggest difference between Cleveland and the 2008 Baltimore Ravens and 2009 Cincinnati Bengals is talent. The Browns do not have enough on their roster at this point to win consistently. It also doesn't help that the AFC North is stacked with good teams. I'm picking the Browns to finish fourth in the division, which means the sleeper streak in the AFC North ends this year.

If you have any future "Thought of the Day" ideas for the AFC North, send them to our division inbox.