Following a loss to the Steelers two weeks ago, the Cleveland Browns postseason chances were in peril.
The Browns fell to 5-7 and many deemed the season to essentially be over.
However, after knocking off the Bengals this past Sunday, a playoff spot still remains possible.
It’s slim, but it’s there.
The Browns climbed to 6-7 after the win and are looking to have their first winning season since 2007.
Cleveland missed the playoffs that year despite a 10-6 record.
If you recall, it came down to a week 17 matchup between the Colts and the Titans.
With nothing to play for, Indianapolis sat Peyton Manning along with the majority of their starters.
The Titans went on to win the game, giving them the tiebreaker for the second wild-card spot over Cleveland.
Ironically, Tennessee is involved once again in the Browns’ playoff aspirations.
According to playoffstatus.com, the Browns have just a 5% chance of getting into the postseason this year.
As mentioned, those are slim odds.
Here are the current playoff standings heading into week 15.
The NFL Playoff Picture entering Week 15. pic.twitter.com/MhisnPgME4
— SportsLine (@SportsLine) December 10, 2019
Let’s take a look at what needs to happen for Cleveland to get in.
This one may seem obvious, but it can be overlooked when you focus on the extra help needed.
The Browns do not control their own destiny.
This means even if they win out, they still may not get in.
But, losing one of these final three games guarantees they miss out on the playoffs.
Arizona is beatable and the Browns have already shown they can beat Cincinnati.
The big question is whether Cleveland can beat the Ravens, again.
This time it’s in Cleveland, and the Ravens will have something to play for no matter what happens this Sunday.
They want the one seed over the Patriots, and the Browns stand in their way of doing so.
Winning out will be easier said than done, but it’s far from impossible.
Go Titans or No Titans?
One of two things has to happen with the Tennessee Titans.
The first is Mike Vrabel’s team losing out, dropping them to 8-8 and giving Cleveland the better record (provided they win out).
The other possibility is if the Titans knock off Houston both times down the stretch.
Tennessee would take the division from Houston, giving Cleveland the tiebreaker over the Texans for the second wild-card spot via a better conference record.
As we know, the Titans smacked the Browns around week one, so they cannot finish with the same record as Tennessee.
Of course, this could all be a moot point, depending on what the Steelers do.
The Browns need Pittsburgh to just lose two out of their final three games.
This is certainly possible with two of those games being the Bills and Ravens.
They do see the Jets, a game they should win.
However, Cleveland would hold a better divisional record over Pittsburgh even if they beat the Ravens and drop the other two games.
If both teams finish 9-7, that divisional record tiebreaker would give Cleveland a postseason bid; their first since 2002.
Hopefully, the Ravens still have something to play for in week 17, which Cleveland can help ensure by beating them the week before.
Raiders and Colts
No need to worry about these two teams.
Even if they both were to win out, Cleveland holds a tiebreaker for conference record over both.
If all three finish 9-7, Cleveland is in.