As the Cleveland Browns are set to take on the Chicago Bears today, their playoff destiny is largely in their own control.
The Browns are currently the fifth seed in the AFC, which means that as long as they keep winning, they’re in good shape come January.
Having said that, however, the AFC playoff race continues to heat up and tighten more than ever.
Things got even more intense after yesterday’s game which saw the Cincinnati Bengals defeat the Minnesota Vikings in overtime.
As such, Browns analyst Tony Grossi believes that Cleveland’s upcoming Week 17 matchup with the Bengals may determine who’s in and who’s out in terms of a playoff berth.
Bengals OT win almost guarantees Browns Game 17 in Cincinnati will be ultra-meaningful. Let's go!
— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) December 16, 2023
With the win, the Bengals improved to 8-6, including winning their last three games, all under the guidance of backup quarterback Jake Browning.
That means that if the Browns lose today to the Bears, both teams would have even records.
However, because the Browns defeated the Bengals in Week 1, they would currently hold the tiebreaker, but that could all change if the Bengals beat the Browns in their Week 17 matchup.
The fact that the Bengals are even still in the playoff race is nothing short of remarkable following a season-ending injury to star quarterback Joe Burrow.
Of course, the Browns also know a little something about injured quarterbacks, as they’re currently being guided to a potential playoff spot by a backup as well.
If both teams continue winning, their Week 17 matchup will indeed be ultra-meaningful.
But with how tight things currently are in the AFC wild-card race, every game is ultra-meaningful.