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Browns D ready to 'step up' and seize the 'great opportunity' they have over next 7 games

The defense is turning the page from last week and gearing up for a better performance Sunday against Detroit

The Browns defense has turned the page quickly from last week's outing in New England.

Cleveland had no choice other than to move forward after surrendering 45 unanswered points in a 45-7 defeat to the Patriots, who scored touchdowns on seven of their nine offensive drives and exposed several flaws the defense has struggled to consistently eliminate. The Browns can't afford a similar performance, and they're taking measures this week to ensure it doesn't happen again.

"I think guys (need to) step up," DT Malik Jackson said Wednesday. "This is a job, we get paid. I think the coaches are going to look at some options, giving guys more burn. Just giving guys options to go out there and do their thing. I think we all need to take a look at ourselves and see what we need to do better and see what we can do better. Everybody just be a good teammate and understand it's about the team."

The Browns have an opportunity to get back on track Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium against the Lions, but they'll have to execute at a much higher level to capitalize on it.

The Lions are 0-8-1 and are currently weighing quarterback options after starter Jared Goff missed practice Wednesday with an oblique injury. Tim Boyle, an undrafted free agent from 2018 who hasn't started an NFL game, and David Blough, a former Browns player who was traded after training camp in 2019, are the two backups. Boyle received first-team reps Wednesday for Detroit.

But no matter who starts or what the stats suggest of the Lions, the Browns aren't taking anything lightly or expecting an easy battle.

"If you watch the film, yes, they haven't won a game, but they've played in a lot of close games," CB Greg Newsome II said. "A lot of those games can go either way. At the end of the day, we're trying to get into the playoffs and you have to wake up for games like this."

The Browns have to keep that mindset the rest of the season to keep their playoff hopes alive. Cleveland is one of 12 AFC teams that has at least five wins on the season and, despite the tough result last week, are still very much in playoff contention. With so many teams in the race, every win for the rest of the season will be a significant push for the Browns — but the opposite is also true for a loss.

That's why LB Anthony Walker Jr. preached a playoff-mode mentality Monday when he was asked about what the Browns need to collectively do to move on from last week.

"It's a lot of talking we can do and a lot of things we can do, but at the end of the day, you have to do it," he said. "I think we're at that point. We have to understand that we're in the playoffs now. If you want to be a playoff team, then your playoffs just started earlier. We're a playoff team right now and we have to play every game like it's a playoff game."

The first round starts Sunday, and the defense knows it has to put on a much better performance then and for the rest of the season to ensure the Browns have a shot at making the real playoffs.

"We're 5-5 and have seven games left," Jackson said. "We have a great opportunity to go out here and really make a run. We just need to get our train back on track, be consistent and be accountable."

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