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Bengals Weekend Forecast: First look at the Browns

Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson makes his return to Paul Brown Stadium, and at least a small part of him has to be wondering why he ever left.

His first season as coach of the Cleveland Browns is off to a disastrous start, with the team losing its first six games while enduring a rash of injuries that has put 12 players on injured reserve, not to mention the ongoing Josh Gordon substance abuse saga.

Jackson has been forced to play five quarterbacks in the first six games, with rookie Cody Kessler in the current starting role.

The Browns are tied for 27th in first downs per game (18.5) and rank 30th in sacks allowed (19) and points per game (18.8).

Defensively, things have been worse.

Cleveland ranks 29th in total defense, 27th in rush defense and tied for 26th in pass defense. And the 176 points the Browns have allowed are the most in the AFC. Only San Francisco (185) has surrendered more.

Cleveland has allowed more than 400 yards in four of six games, including 501 against the Patriots two weeks ago.

At 0-6, the Browns are in danger of matching its worst start since beginning 0-7 in 1999, their expansion year after returning to the league following a three-year absence.

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One bright spot has been the play of former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who in his first year as a wide receiver leads the team in receptions (33), receiving yards (413) and receiving touchdowns (three).

Pryor also has played quarterback, completing 5 of 9 passes for 41 yards.

Cleveland also has been running the ball effectively, with Isaiah Crowell averaging 5.2 yards per attempt. His 432 yards rank 10th in the league.

Bengals-Browns connections

Browns coach Hue Jackson was the offensive coordinator for the Bengals from 2014-15, and he also coached for Cincinnati from 2004-06 and from ’12-13. … Bengals LB Karlos Dansby played for the Browns from 2014-15. … Browns WR Terrelle Pryor played at Ohio State; he was briefly with the Bengals in 2015 but did not play. … Browns OL Dan France was with the Bengals from 2014-15 (practice squad). … Browns WR Andrew Hawkins played with the Bengals from 2011-14. … Bengals defensive line coach Jacob Burney was on the Browns staff from 1994-95. … Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton played for the Bengals from 1983-88 and was defensive backs coach from 1997-2001. … Browns defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi was on the Bengals staff from 1997-2010. … Browns tight ends coach Greg Seamon spent 13 seasons (2003-15) with the Bengals, primarily as a scout. … Bengals HB Cedric Peerman was briefly with the Browns in 2009 but did not play.

AFC North outlook

Baltimore (3-3) at New York Jets (1-5) Sunday afternoon. The Ravens will try to avoid their first four-game losing streak since 2007 when they head to New York to face a Jets team that has lost four in a row.

Pittsburgh (4-2) vs. New England Patriots (5-1) Sunday afternoon. Landry Jones takes over at quarterback following Ben Roethlisberger’s surgery, and his first test is against the top team in the AFC.

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