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Ben Roethlisberger on the Browns' chances in the AFC North

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Despite downing the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 of the National Football League (NFL) season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger believes that "The Dog Pound" is going to surprise a lot of people this year.

Since the franchise's return to the NFL in 1999, Roethlisberger is the winningest quarterback in Cleveland history, making him more than qualified to comment on the current state of the team that has been so ill-riddled over the past few years. Although they put up quite the fight, Cleveland still couldn't get the job done against "The Steel Curtain," losing their Week 1 match-up against the black and yellow 21-18.

The game wasn't a complete negative, however, as it showed Cleveland can go toe-to-toe with a team that is certainly playoff-bound given that they were competing in the AFC Championship playoff game this past January.

The Browns haven't defeated the Steelers since 2014 when they hugely upset Pittsburgh under former head coach Mike Pettine with a score of 31-10 during a home game at FirstEnergy Stadium. This time around against Cleveland this past Sunday, the match-up was a lot more competitive.

By looking at the numbers one would assume the Browns would have emerged the victor, given that Cleveland beat out a Pittsburgh rushing attack fronted by Le'Veon Bell, rushing for more yards and more yards per attempt that the Steelers, committing fewer penalties, and winning the time of possession battle  31:10 to 28:50.

Despite the one-sided stats, longtime veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his squad were able to get the job done, but "Big Ben" later stated that Cleveland could surprise a lot of football fans this year - as they could be a force to be reckoned with in the AFC North (quotes via NFL.com):

"That team is going to surprise a lot of people," Roethlisberger said Wednesday, via Bleacher Report. "I'm glad we played them in Week 1."

Browns coaching staff Hue Jackson, Sashi Brown, Andrew Berry and Paul DePodesta seem to be on the right track to possibly making a playoff appearance in the next few years, or maybe even this season if things go according to plan, but could soon pounce on an aging AFC North that sports veteran quarterbacks such as Roethlisberger and Baltimore's Joe Flaco, who could be on their way out of the game soon.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns

What are your thoughts on Roethlisberger's comments regarding the Browns' probability to surprise a lot of people in the NFL this year? Do they have a legitimate shot at taking the AFC North? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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