Ok. Let me start by saying that the Browns playoff hopes rely on the Browns winning out. So if the Browns lose a single game. Its over. Start preparing for the draft. So for starters, let me give you a view on the next four games.
CLE vs. CIN- This game scares me. But only a little. The Bengals rush defense is pretty poor as well, ranked 23rd at this point in the season. Plus, McCoy might be back by this game. The reason this is a bit scary is because of the fact that they took the Saints down till the end. However by this game, the Bengals will have gone through the Steelers in the week before, they may be demoralized when the Browns head out there to play them.
CLE vs. BAL- This one is dangerous. Very dangerous. If one game keeps the Browns out of the playoffs it will be this one. Previously this year, the Browns had a shot at beating them. Mostly ruined by Eric Wrights infant-like ability to cover Anquan Boldin. But not just him, these games are a team effort. If Peyton can run all over them again, and we protect the ball, we could come away with this one. McCoy should be back by this game, and he did well against a good defense before. Plus Haden should be on Boldin to keep him quiet.
CLE vs. PIT- Pittsburgh? They shouldn't be a problem right? Almost. If the Steelers lock up the division by the time this game happens, well then there's a good chance we won't face Roethlisberger. He broke his foot, then his nose, if they have the playoff spot down I doubt they would risk hurting him. Plus, this is in Cleveland.
Now, there are a few teams that have better records and will get in ahead of the Browns in the playoffs, but, we only need the last wild card spot. So the current division leaders(KC, PIT, NE, and JAX) can keep winning as much as they want to. Actually, it'd be better for them to.
KC and the AFC West- They face, in order, SD, StL, TEN, and OAK. They MUST defeat SD this week to get the Browns in. So far, if the Chargers finish tied with the Browns, they get in, not us. At a current 6-6 they must lose TWO games for the Browns to get in. If KC wins 2 more, they automatically get the Division. Which puts SD into a potential wild card. Lets hope SD falls apart.
PIT and the AFC North- They face, in order, CIN, NYJ, CAR, and CLE. If they win 3, they automatically get the division, but, that is only if Baltimore can win out. However, that interferes with the first statement, they need to beat us which if our scenario plays out, they won't. So the Steelers are no threat to take a wild card from us.
NE and the AFC East- Their opponents, in order, are CHI, GB, BUF, and MIA. Even if they lose out (they won't) all they would do is get the wild card I had reserved for the Jets, and then the Jets would get the division. No threat here. They CANNOT lose the division to Miami, so that leaves Miami to lose one game and we get in ahead of them, because they are currently 6-6 and we beat them.
JAX and the AFC South- They must go up against OAK, IND, WAS and HOU. Now the tie breaker for the Browns vs. IND is confusing. If IND finishes 9-7 due to a loss to the Jags, we are ahead of them, if they lose only once to someone else, they get in. I don't know why this is but the ESPN Playoff machine shows it. It has to do with records against common teams or something. Houston has a chance to catch us but if they lose once, they fall to at best 6-10.
So to put all this simply here's a list of the events that have the best chance of happening:
The Browns win out, and beat Buffalo, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
The Ravens lose to Houston, Cleveland and New Orleans and win against Cincinnati and fall to 9-7 where the Browns have a tiebreaker against them.
The Jets only lose to Chicago and Pittsburgh to put them at 11-5. They get the fifth seed wild card.
Patriots win out, get Division.
Pittsburgh loses one, win Division.
Miami loses one, out of playoffs.
Jax wins against Colts, win division and put them under us in the wild card.
Houston loses just one and out of playoffs.
KC wins out, beating Chargers once in the process, wins division.
Chargers lose to KC and San Fran, out of playoffs.
Oakland loses to Indianapolis and Jacksonville. Fall to 8-8 and lose playoff hopes.
The thing about this is, most of these scenarios are likely to happen. The most important thing for other teams to do is beat Baltimore. With these here the playoffs look like this.
#1 Pats at 13-3
#2 Pittsburgh at 12-4
#3 KC at 12-4
#4 Jax at 11-5
#5 Jets at 11-5
#6 BROWNS AT 9-7
See? No sweat right?