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It’s been common to hear that the Browns aren’t as bad as their record indicates, and that’s true. They’ve been in a number of games until late, and they’ve had major injuries and a lot of bad breaks, and anyway, no one could be as bad as the Browns’ record indicates. You’re not going to hear that refrain today though.

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The Browns got absolutely mashed by the Cowboys, allowing touchdowns on five of Dallas’s first six drives, then gaining just 28 yards on offense in the second half. It added up to a 35-10 loss, and an 0-9 record, and a little bit of league history: Cleveland is now the first NFL team since the merger to allow 25 points or more in their first nine games.

After the loss, Browns linebacker Chris Kirksey shocked the assembled media with a bold prediction. Nay! A guarantee.

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“We’re not going to go 0-16. That’s for a fact. We’re not doing that ... I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this, but we’re not going winless. We’re not.”

(Please note that after Cleveland fell to 0-8 last week, Kirksey predicted they would go 8-0 the rest of the way.)

At least avoiding 0-16 is something to play for, because it sounds like the Browns are having a tough time.

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“Trying to stay positive,” left tackle Joe Thomas said. “But it’s difficult. Every loss that stacks up makes it tougher In the end you try to remain positive and get yourself ready for a game, and the best way to do that is to remain positive. But it definitely gets harder every time you lose.

“You can’t look at the record or dwell on the losses. But it does get harder.”

Head coach Hue Jackson said he feels especially bad for the fans, and “we have to give them something to keep coming for.”

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The Browns’ final seven games are @BAL, PIT, NYG, CIN, @BUF, SD, @PIT. Honestly, their best chance for a win feels like this Thursday night against the Ravens; Thursdays are weird and sloppy. The Giants and Bills seem capable of barfing up a game too. Regardless, Kirksey has made a guarantee, and the history of NFL glory is writ with confidence like his. Do not count out the Browns’ chances of doing something amazing and winning a football game between now and 2017.