A couple of weeks ago, Browns Nation took a look at five reasons the Cleveland Browns will still make the playoffs. Whether the Cleveland Browns improved as a team, their schedule got easier, or the addition of Kareem Hunt helped drastically, they won two games since that article, and the dream of Cleveland making playoffs is becoming a serious possibility.
At 4-6, the road to the playoffs is becoming clearer with each passing week.
Here is a breakdown of how the Browns will fare in each remaining game this season.
Week 12 vs Miami Dolphins
The Browns can’t afford to look past any of their remaining opponents.
A few weeks ago, the Miami Dolphins were the laughing stock of the league. After two consecutive wins, they showed the league that they should be taken seriously.
Cleveland is a double-digit favorite via Vegas, but if they ease up during this game, the Dolphins could pull off another upset.
A couple of teams ahead of the Browns in the Wild Card race also have an easy remaining strength of schedule, but the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans play each other, guaranteeing one team to drop to 6-5 (barring a tie).
Week 13 at Pittsburgh Steelers
This game will most likely be the second-toughest game remaining on the Browns’ schedule. Recently, they defeated Pittsburgh 21-7. However, all games between the Browns and Steelers are expected to be difficult. Add in the extracurricular activities from last week’s game and this contest gets all the more physical.
Losing Myles Garrett indefinitely is a big blow to the Browns’ defense, but they must move forward and continue to play their best football if they want to make the playoffs. If Cleveland can get to 6-6 after this game, they could be one game back of a Wild Card playoff spot.
Our matchup vs. the Steelers in Pittsburgh has been changed to 1 p.m. ET
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 18, 2019
Week 14 vs Cincinnati Bengals
This is the first of two matchups still remaining between the Cincinnati Bengals and Browns. Cincinnati is the lone completely defeated team in the NFL at 0-10. Assuming the Browns earn a big win over the Steelers the week prior, this game becomes a trap.
Cleveland will most likely be a double-digit favorite against the Bengals, but they must ignore that fact and play this game like a playoff game (which every game for them for the remainder of the season is).
Divisional games are traditionally close, tough contests no matter how lopsided the matchup is. If the Browns win Week 14, their record improves to over .500.
Week 15 at Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals almost took down the San Francisco 49ers twice. Kyler Murray is a dangerous weapon under center and can hurt teams with his arm and legs.
Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is starting to mesh and the future in Arizona is certainly bright.
Cleveland needs to contain Murray and force quick decisions on his part. With Kenyan Drake now in Arizona, the Cardinals have a solid 1-2 punch between him and David Johnson.
The weakness for the Cardinals is their defense. Cleveland will need a big day on offense if they want to hold off the pesky Cardinals.
Week 16 vs Baltimore Ravens
Assuming all the stars align and the Browns make it to 8-6, their Week 16 game against the Baltimore Ravens is their biggest test of the season. The Ravens are considered one of the best teams in football.
Their offense is first in rushing and points scored per game.
Their defense is starting to play like a Baltimore defense is expected to play, up to seventh-best in the league in points allowed per game.
Odds are that the Ravens will be playing for a first-round bye in this game, so they will be as hungry for a win as the Browns. Luckily, this game is in Cleveland.
The good news is that Cleveland took Baltimore down 40-25 in Week 4 in what was perhaps their best game of the season. They will need to play just as good, if not better, if they want to keep their playoffs hopes alive with a win in the season’s second-last week.
Week 17 at Cincinnati Bengals
In a Browns fan’s utopian society, Cleveland is now 9-6 and control their own destiny. A win in their last game of the season and the Browns secure the second Wild Card spot and eliminate the Pittsburgh Steelers from playoff contention.
Based on their record, there is no other opponent in the NFL the Browns would rather be playing in Week 17.
Nothing would be worse than a loss against the Bengals to drop to 9-7 and miss the playoffs via a massive upset. This game could possibly be the hump the Browns have to get over to remove any talk of a “curse,” as they get into the playoffs and the season starts over.
Anything can happen come playoff time.