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This Week in the AFC North


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Ten years ago many Browns loyalists, several that still frequent this board on a daily basis, met to inaugurate Cleveland Brown Stadium with a legendary tailgate. They met with high hopes of a new era and the excitement of just being able to enjoy a Browns game again.


Unfortunately these loyal fans, the only fans in sports to successfully fight to get their displaced team back, were treated to a drubbing at the hands of their rival that day, and many years of shoddy football produced by a franchise that was rushed into the NFL and drafted horribly under its first team of leaders.


Eventually the dreaded P-C-P brass was replaced with the dreaded Butch Davis dictatorship which was replaced with the dreaded Savage-Crennell era, and the most loyal fans in sport continued to suffer and lose over and over to their hated rivals.


However, for once the cupboards were not left bare, as Savage manged to assemble enough talent to make a run for the division crown in 2007, and now in 2009, most of the talent remains, looking for some leadership.


Enter Eric Mangini.


Finally, a real football coach. a No-nonsense, build-it-the-right-way, no-excuses, hard work & execution coach who is finally going to bring a defense to the shores of Lake Erie that will make the Dawgs of the 80's proud. Mangini, respects the history, learned from the masters, and is his own man ... firmly in control of operations with a system of accountability ... not country club.


But the new Browns will also need an on-the-field leader. Not only have the Browns not won, not coincidently, they have had generally mediocre play and even worse leadership from the QB position. Couch cried, Holcomb wilted, Garcia whined, Dilfer sucked ... Browns fans suffered.


Enter Brady Quinn.


Born a Browns fan, a hero at Notre Dame, and now ready to hoist one of the NFL's great cornerstone franchises on his his broad shoulders and lead the team into a new era of playmaking, pride and, yes, accountability. Quinn has the pedigree, all of the tools, the desire, and the fire ... and now finally Browns fans will have a face on the new franchise ... a stronger, more disciplined, better-built, REAL CLEVELAND BROWN franchise.


Let's kick this sucker off, we've waited long enough...


Kansas City at Baltimore 1PM

The Chiefs have been free-falling for years, and hope Todd Haley and Matt Cassel will be what Browns fans expect from Mangini and Quinn. However, KC, has a little problem we like to call "lack of talent". It's going to take a year or two to fill vacant gaps of talent throughout the roster, but they will be able to steal a game or two if they get some disciplined defense and a big game or two from Cassel or Larry Johnson. And Baltimore is an over-rated team that is going to experience quite a few bitch-slap awakenings this year, I believe. That said ... the Ravens vet defense will be too much for the all-new KC offense. RAVENS 24 CHIEFS 13


Denver at Cincinnati 1PM

While I am not among those that feel Cincy could have a surprising run this year ... they still suck ... I am among those that feel Denver is in total "meltdown to the core" mode. You replace Mike Shanahan and Jay Cutler with Josh McDaniel and Kyle Orton and you go backward. Fast. And backward from 8-8 means bad. Yeah, sorry, not fearing "Josh and Kyle". But at least Brandon Marshall will be a joy. BUNGLES 14 BRONCOS 13


Minnesota at Cleveland 1PM

Minnesota Vikings fans should be ashamed of their team ... and of themselves if they are drinking the Favre Kool-Aid. This franchise just sold its soul, folks. They hated and booed cheesehead Favre for years and then rolled out the royal purple carpet for him when somehow they decided they "were one player away" from the Super Bowl. OK ... first of all, no team is ever "one player away" from the Super Bowl, unity and execution go a lot further than adding the right 53rd guy. Secondly, Favre sucks. Yes he had a great career ... but he hit his wall. Why these dumb bastards want to bring back a shell of their all-time hated rival is just beyond me. They deserve to lose. And they will. Quinn will ignite the dawgpound like it hasn't seen since the Kosar days. The Browns have quietly assembled a veteran defense that is going to bring holy hell all season long. Peterson may get his yards, but Favre will get beaten and bruised and will do what he does best at this phase of his career: turn it over. Look for a more disciplined, stronger-across-the-board Browns team than you have seen in years and years. And look for a real nice victory to start the new era. BROWNS 29 VIKINGS 16



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