So, you’re telling Cleveland Browns fans there’s a chance at the playoffs?
Well, at least ESPN FPI is according to Jake Trotter here on Twitter.
#Browns now have a 4.6% chance to make the playoffs, per ESPN FPI
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) December 5, 2022
It’s a slim chance at 4.6%.
Still, it gives the final five games of Cleveland’s campaign some extra meaning in an otherwise disappointing season thus far.
With Deshaun Watson back under center, how can the final stretch of the season play out?
Week 14 @ Cincinnati
Cleveland has owned Cincinnati in recent history, winning eight of the last nine games against the Bengals.
Joe Burrow, who nearly captured a Super Bowl last year, has yet to beat the Browns.
If Cleveland can find a way to do it again, the season quickly gets interesting.
If the Browns can beat the Bengals again, which is a *massive* if by the way considering how the Bengals are playing right now, they got a real shot of turning their season around.
— Colb (@___Colb___) December 5, 2022
Watson and the offense aren’t going up against Houston again, however.
That side of the ball will need to put up more than six points.
Week 15 vs. Baltimore
If the Browns knock off Cincy, Week 15’s clash with the Ravens becomes huge.
Baltimore’s main concern now is that Lamar Jackson exited Sunday’s game against the Broncos with a knee injury.
“We’ll see if he can go this week”, John Harbaugh told reporters per ESPN. “If not, it’ll be sometime after that shortly”.
Even when facing Jackson, Cleveland has played the Ravens very tough in recent history.
I’d expect a close, physical battle whether Lamar goes or not.
Week 16 vs. New Orleans
The Saints have underwhelmed across the board this season and sit in third in the NFC South.
They’re led offensively by someone the Browns are familiar with in Andy Dalton. He is 12-5 against Cleveland in his career.
Although, many of those wins came against some pretty poor Browns teams.
Even under .500, this New Orleans team has been in a ton of close games.
If Cleveland isn’t locked in, the Saints are capable of coming into northeast Ohio and leaving with a win.
Week 17 @ Washington
At 7-5, the Commanders have been a pleasant surprise to folks in D.C.
We know they can beat good teams after handing the Eagles their first loss of the season.
Oh, that was in Philadelphia by the way. I’m not sold on Taylor Heinicke.
I doubt Washington truly is either.
But, they have a solid rushing attack led by Brian Robinson Jr. complimented by a physical defense. Again, they aren’t a team to look past.
Week 18 @ Pittsburgh
The regular season finale in Pittsburgh, depending on how the previous weeks play out, could hold a lot of meaning.
Or it could mean nothing at all aside from bragging rights and, potentially, avoiding the divisional basement.
Rookie Kenny Pickett and the Steelers look better of late, racking up two straight wins.
But they still go through some serious offensive lulls and struggle defensively on T.J. Watt’s quiet days.
Can Cleveland get their first regular season sweep over Pittsburgh since 1988-1989? Probably.