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Cleveland Browns are tied for first place in AFC North

Linebacker Karlos Dansby of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 24-3 on Thursday night.
Linebacker Karlos Dansby of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 24-3 on Thursday night. (Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

Don't look now, but the Cleveland Browns, yes, the Cleveland Browns, are tied for first in the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both are 6-3 after the Browns' 24-3 dismantling of the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.

If the season ended today, the Browns would be a wild-card playoff team. Let that sink in a moment.

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The Steelers can regain the division lead Sunday with a victory over the New York Jets, but for the next two-plus days, the Browns will have a share of the lead.

The Bengals have fallen to third place at 5-3-1, while the Ravens remain in last at 5-4.

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Who would have thought that the Browns, AFC North doormats for years, would be in first place after more than half the season has been played? Especially with a first-year head coach in former Ravens assistant Mike Pettine?

The Browns will play the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 28. And for the first time in years the regular-season finale might actually mean something for the Browns.

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