Now that the Cleveland Browns clinched a playoff spot comes the debate about resting players in Week 18.
Decisions won’t be made until the rest of this weekend’s games shake out.
By Monday morning, Kevin Stefanski will have a clear picture of what is at stake in the regular season finale, but right now, the Browns players aren’t discussing rest or how great it is just to make it to the playoffs.
As Jake Trotter tells ESPN Cleveland, they are focused on bigger things (via ESPN Cleveland on Twitter).
— ESPN Cleveland (@ESPNCleveland) December 29, 2023
To be sure, the team is happy with their well-earned playoff status.
Cleveland locked themselves into the AFC’s fifth seed with their win over the Jets, but Trotter says the conversations in the locker room revolve around a division title and the AFC’s top seed.
Players hope the Miami Dolphins help them out by beating the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
That keeps the Browns in contention for bigger things than a wild card.
In that scenario, Pittsburgh can hand the Ravens their third division loss to end the regular season.
There is a chance the Steelers will be alive for the third AFC wild card.
At the very least, they’ll try to preserve head coach Mike Tomlin’s streak of .500 seasons.
Beating Cincinnati would give the Browns a 4-2 division record and the tiebreaker over Baltimore.
On top of that, if playoff-contending Buffalo deals Miami their 4th conference loss, Cleveland steals the top seed.
Cleveland players know it starts by winning, so there’ll be no talk about rest or settling for a wild card just yet.