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While there is all kinds of competition atop the AFC North division between Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the Cleveland Browns have fizzled out in recent weeks to occupy the bottom spot in the division with little to consider a silver lining. On Sunday, they'll look to gain some confidence before taking on three AFC North rivals in consecutive weeks by hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jacksonville is coming off a win, though it was over the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts really are in that bad a state as to qualify wins over them as "though it was just the Colts." But Jacksonville will be confident heading into this game, as this is the part of their schedule in which they've identified as an "easy stretch" before some extremely tough games kick in. Following this game against Cleveland, the Jaguars will take on teams like Houston, Tennessee, San Diego and Atlanta in the coming weeks.
For the Browns, this game is one that could get them back to their winning ways and put them back into contention. Sitting with a 3-6 record, the Browns could feasibly rattle off big wins consecutively, boosting them up and dropping the rest of the AFC North along the way. But if that is to happen, an awful lot needs to change.
The offense continues to stall out and fail to produce, and a loss last week to the St. Louis Rams really set them back. Cleveland only managed to get 146 yards passing out of Colt McCoy, and didn't have running back Peyton Hillis in the lineup once again, as he was out with a hamstring injury. In the last three weeks, the Browns have given up 128 yards to Steven Jackson, 124 yards to Arian Foster and 134 yards to Frank Gore rushing.
Up against one of the league's best running backs in Maurice Jones-Drew, the Browns really need to tighten up their run defense. Just defending the pass isn't helping them at this point, and Jones-Drew is a back who will beat them every time if given the chance.