Cleveland Browns: Is There A Legit Path For Browns To Sneak Into Playoffs?

Cleveland Browns: Is There A Legit Path For Browns To Sneak Into Playoffs?

Grant Puskar
2 years ago
3 min read
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson gives a thumbs up ahead of preseason game

Yes, here we are in Week 12 of the NFL season talking about the Cleveland Browns and the playoffs, while the Browns currently hold a 4-7 record.

As Browns fans, it seems as if our two favorite phrases year in and year out are "there is always next year" and "it is not over until it is over". 

Well, if you're one of those people, you aren't exactly wrong.

The Browns sit at just 4-7, having already gone through the toughest part of their schedule. If the Browns are sitting at 4-7, why are we even having this conversation? Deshaun Watson is why.

The superstar quarterback is set to return to the starting lineup on Sunday against his former team in the Houston Texans after serving his 11-game suspension from the NFL, and what better way to knock off some rust by doing so against your former team.

So, How Exactly Can They Get In?

Let's start with the wild card.

While it might sound crazy, a path to the playoffs via the wild card seems like the more unlikely option between that and the divison. Here's why.

The New York Jets currently hold the seventh and final wild card spot right now at 7-4. Behind them but still in front of the Browns? The Chargers and Patriots; two teams with just 5 losses, but both hold the tiebreaker over the Browns having already won the head-to-head matchup this season.

If for some reason all of those teams slide big-time and end up with eight losses, the Browns would have to run the table. 

No matter if we're talking division or wild card, the Browns basically are required to run the table either way. Again, extremely unlikely, but they aren't dead yet.

Now, for the more entertaining path; the AFC North.

If the Browns truly are going to make a run at this thing, winning the AFC North seems like the best shot they have, believe it or not. The Browns currently sit with odds of +2000 to win the division

The Browns got an early Christmas gift on Sunday when the Jaguars stormed back to beat the Ravens, tying the game with just 12 seconds remaining and then converting on the two-point conversion to win the game.

Without Watson, the Browns went 2-1 in the division, and you can make a strong argument that they should have won that Ravens game and gone 3-0. 

Yes, the defense is the main reason they are in the position they are in. But, a win like yesterday could be what sparks a complete turnaround, especially with Watson returning.

Say what you will, but Watson makes the defense better. How? Extending drives, scoring points and making the opposing offense adjust their gameplan if they get down early in the game.

The Browns still play every team in the AFC North one more time. Their other three remaining opponents? The Texans, Commanders and Saints. Two out of three are good teams, but all three are beatable.

The Bengals currently sit with four losses, but have a pretty grueling remaining schedule that includes dates with the Chiefs, Browns, Buccaneers, Patriots, Bills and Ravens. 

The Ravens, however, seem to have it pretty easy, with games against the Broncos, Steelers, Falcons and Browns all remaining.

Losing to the Jaguars was big for any chance the Browns might have, and it didn't seem to sit well with Lamar Jackson. Call me crazy all you want, but it truly isn't over just yet. 

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