AFC North Q&A: Does the AFC North look at Cleveland games as gimmes?

Today's question: Wilbert Montgomery said that when he coached in Baltimore the Ravens always felt that if they kept the game close in the fourth quarter the Browns would make the mistakes that lost the game. In the past 10 years, the Browns are 13-47 against the AFC North -- a won-lost percentage of .217 that is worse than their overall won-lost percentage in that time (.338). Does the AFC North look at Cleveland games as gimmes?

Jeremy Fowler, Pittsburgh Steelers: Goodness, what an awful percentage. That's exactly why fans of the Steelers, Ravens and Bengals consider games against Cleveland as gimmes. AFC North teams won't go further than acknowledging losing -- just like winning -- can be infectious, especially with no quarterback, and that's the Browns' problem. They also recognize last year's Browns pounded the Steelers and Bengals by 21 points apiece. They lost twice to the Ravens by a combined 12 points. In six divisional games, Cleveland lost one game by more than 10 points, that dreadful 30-0 performance against Cincinnati in Week 15. Naturally, division rivals understand the same-old-Browns line. But there's a reasonable level of respect involved, too. Opposing quarterbacks respect the Browns' defense, which was reputable even before it loaded up on defensive draft picks this year. The offense? Let's just say AFC North teams don't exactly fear it.

Coley Harvey, Cincinnati Bengals: I wouldn't go as far to call Browns games gimmes, no matter Cleveland's abysmal record against the rest of the division. I don't think players and coaches would view those games as gimmes, either. Maybe they know they aren't playing the New England Patriots, but still. Besides, this is an NFL franchise and you still never really know what can happen in a close game in the league. And by the way, the Browns play in a pretty good division. Cincinnati's regular-season emergence in the past four seasons has only made the AFC North that much better. Last season's playoffs when three division teams punched postseason tickets was a prime example of how good the teams the Browns face six times a year are. Stick Cleveland in the AFC South, and maybe that record is a little closer to .500.

Jamison Hensley, Baltimore Ravens: Playing the Browns doesn't carry the same intensity as squaring off against the rival Steelers, but no one considers it a "gimme" game. This will sound like coachspeak because the Ravens are 13-1 against the Browns under coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco. But the Ravens haven't dominated the Browns as much as the lopsided series record would indicate. Baltimore lost at Cleveland in 2013 and needed a field goal as time expired to win at the Browns last season. The Ravens have talked about their respect for the Browns' defense, and it has shown in the scores. Baltimore hasn't produced more than two touchdowns against Cleveland in the past four meetings. The Browns' defense is no pushover.