Are the Cleveland Browns legitimate playoff contenders?

Oct 12, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) throws the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 12, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) throws the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Can the Cleveland Browns contend for a playoff spot in the AFC?

The Cleveland Browns are currently sitting at 3-2 and third in the AFC North after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-10 yesterday afternoon. They are still behind both the Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1) and Baltimore Ravens (4-2), but have shown improvement and will be getting Josh Gordon back later on in the season. Brian Hoyer has taken the quarterback job and run with it, and has taken the Browns from being a mediocre team at best to being a potential playoff contender in the AFC.

More from Cleveland Browns

Are the Browns a legitimate playoff contender in the AFC, or are they simply overachieving early on in the season?

Hoyer has been an awesome surprise for the Browns this season after winning the starting quarterback job over Johnny Manziel. He has played so well that the Browns are considering opening up long-term extension talks with him if he continues this type of play for a couple more weeks. Cleveland may not have expected that Hoyer was their future at quarterback, but that does appear to be the case at this point in time.

Cleveland also has a great group of running backs, including Ben Tate who has dealt with some injury issues this year already. They also have good backups in Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West, who are more than capable of stepping up for Tate if he has to miss anymore time. All three players are capable of carrying a heavy workload on the ground, and that has helped Hoyer in a big way as well.

Defensively, the Browns have haven’t done the type of job that they wanted to see just yet. They are ranked 29th in rushing defense and 23rd in passing defense, but they are still nearly winning game due to their offense. If they can begin playing up to their potential on defense, they will be an even better team that should win games much more easily.

While they have lost two games this season, the Browns have only lost those two games by a total of five points. Obviously that type of loss isn’t a bad one, and they have played every team that they have faced very competitively. Cleveland is definitely a playoff contender in the AFC at this point in time, and they have plenty of room to improve.

Expect to see the Browns continue playing at a high level, and competing each and every time they step onto the field.

More from FanSided