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Bengals Prepare for the Chargers, Browns Again Seeking New Coach

And then there was one.

The Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) are the last team standing in the AFC North for January play. The Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) had a late season surge but fell short while the Baltimore Ravens (8-8) weren’t the same Super Bowl-winning team. As for the Cleveland Browns (4-12), their new coach was one and done.

On Sunday, the Bengals will host the San Diego Chargers (9-7) in Wild-Card Weekend. The two teams last met on Dec. 1 with the Bengals coming away as the winners with a down and dirty 17-10 victory. They had a good balanced game with running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushing for 92 yards and a score, while his fellow back, rookie Giovani Bernard, contributed 57 rushing yards for a combined 164-yard day.

Wide receiver A.J. Greene had 83 yards and one touchdown.

Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton

Good Andy Dalton showed up, passing for 190 yards and one touchdown. The defense held Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers to 252 passing yards as San Diego suffered its fourth loss in five games. Playoffs didn’t seem to be on the horizon.

Fast forward to Sunday and the Chargers have won four in a row while receiving a little help from some other NFL teams to make it to January. They’re confident and Rivers has regained his top playing form. This playoff game will represent the first one between these two since 1981 when they played at the old Riverfront Stadium in the second-coldest league game to ever be played; it has been fondly called the “Freezer Bowl,” according to ESPN. This came as temperatures fell to minus-9 with a minus-59 windchill.

Lucky for these teams, temperatures will be higher, around the mid-30s.

For the Chargers, it’s hard not to ask if their luck will run out after making it this far. Vegas says yes as the Bengals get the win (-7, 46.5 o/u). Looking ahead, they sit at 18/1 to win the 2014 Super Bowl

Chudzinski Releases Statement, What’s Next for the Browns?

Rob Chudzinski

Rob Chudzinski

After their 20-7 loss to the Steelers, the Browns wasted no time in releasing first-year coach Rob Chudzinski. He got his pink slip on Sunday–the first one to come before Black Monday (well, unless you want to count former Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak).

On Monday,  Chudzinski released the following statement about his firing:

“I was shocked and disappointed to hear the news that I was fired. I am a Cleveland Brown to the core, and always will be. It was an honor to lead our players and coaches, and I appreciate their dedication and sacrifice. I was more excited than ever for this team, as I know we were building a great foundation for future success. While clearly I would have liked to see the long-term vision through to the end, I am very grateful to Jimmy Haslam and the Haslam family for letting me live my dream.”

While Chudzinski made his remarks on Monday so did Browns CEO Joe Banner. Banner admitted the decision to fire their coach had already been made by Saturday as the team had discussed it internally last week.

So what’s next for the Browns as they again spin the coaching carousel?

Banner believes the team can attract “the right candidate here.” It appears they want to go with a clean slate as they are unlikely to include candidates from the 2013 search for this year’s. This included Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien and Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt–many who are still being discussed for 2014 head coaching roles.

One name on the list is Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. The Browns have asked permission to interview him and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is also rumored to be an interviewee.

Change is coming for the Browns but will it make a difference?

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