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The Browns Have Moved Up to Contender Status - How Will They Finish the Season?

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Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

This week, Marshall Faulk said, "To be GMC Professional Grade, you need to be driven," and then asked us the following questions: "Assessing the second half of the season, how do you see your team playing coming down the stretch, in terms of the playoffs? What role does your team play in this final stretch? Is it spoiler, hunter, or contender? What do they need to do if they have a chance to get into the playoffs?"

With the Cleveland Browns defeating the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football, they finally escaped the spoiler status that is typically pinned on bad teams and have graduated to contender status.

At 6-3, the Browns are currently in a tie for the division lead in the AFC North, something that hasn't happened in a long time. Unfortunately, this also just so happens to be the year that division is the best in football record-wise. You know what, strike that -- it's not unfortunate. If we are to firmly believe that Cleveland has already taken that next step toward being a contender, and beating Pittsburgh 31-10 and Cincinnati 24-3 make a pretty good case for that, then the Browns should be savoring the challenge. Think about how crazy this is, too -- the Browns are just one game away from being the No. 1 seed in the AFC...in Week 10!

OK, maybe we won't grab the first seed, but it's motivating to even be in the conversation. With the defense clicking on all cylinders, and Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron set to come back soon, Cleveland is going to be a team no one wants to encounter come the closing weeks of the season.

How well do you see the Browns finishing the season?

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