Even at 5-3, it sometimes feels like panic mode for the Cleveland Browns.
Granted, when your team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2002, you never feel safe.
The Browns have a chance to go three games over the five hundred after a date with the 2-6 Houston Texans.
When looking at the schedule, the team has a chance to win 10 games for the first time since 2007.
That begs the question: Is this a must-win game?
No: Favorable Schedule
The NFL recently came to an agreement that the playoffs will stretch to eight teams if regular-season games are canceled.
Even with seven teams qualifying for the playoffs, making the postseason likely only needs about nine wins.
Let’s just say that the Browns lose this game and fall to 5-4.
Take a look at the remaining opponents on the schedule:
- Philadelphia Eagles 3-4-1
- Jacksonville Jaguars 1-7
- Tennessee Titans: 6-2
- Baltimore Ravens: 6-2
- New York Giants: 2-7
- New York Jets: 0-7
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-0
Outside of the Titans, Ravens, and Steelers, that leaves a combined record of 6-25-1 to get four wins.
If the Browns dropped this game, there are opportunities ahead of the team.
Yes: Win The Winnable Games
When you want to make the postseason, you have to take care of the games in which you are the better team.
This is one of those examples.
The Browns have a chance to knock off a team that has allowed 30 points in five of their eight games this season.
The Texans defense made Jake Luton look like a Pro Bowler in his first career start.
Jake Luton’s first career pass goes 73-yards for a TD 🚨
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 8, 2020
There is no reason that the Browns can’t hang points on this team.
The Browns are expected to get running back Nick Chubb back after he has missed the last three games.
That’s a huge addition as the Texans own the worst rush defense in the league.
All the dots point to the Browns winning this game, so the Browns should take care of business.
The Decision: No
Given where the Browns are in the season, this is technically not a must-win game, but it comes with stipulations.
For starters, the Browns have four winnable games after this, so if the Browns laid an egg this week, they have the opportunity to make up for it in the future.
Also, the Browns are just trying to make the playoffs.
All signs point to this team not winning the division, especially with the way the Steelers have been playing.
The goal is for the team to make the postseason to gain experience and break the 18-year playoff drought.
— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) October 27, 2020
Unless something changes, the Browns are not a Super Bowl contender either.
Gaining postseason experience would be huge for this ballclub, so the Browns just need to find a path to get to nine wins.
Beating the two-win Texans should be something the Browns do on Sunday, but if the team loses, we should not act like it’s a catastrophe.
The answer to the question is a no, but we would all love to see the Browns take care of this one.