No thanks to the NFC East, the Cleveland Browns are still mathematically alive for a playoff berth in 2018. Many thanks to the Cowboys and Giants for scoring a combined 0 points in their Week 15 matchups with the Colts and Titans.
But fear not, it’s Week 16 and the Browns are still alive for at least another week.
In order for this extremely absurd scenario to play out, a couple of things must go down first. The Ravens have to lose to the Los Angeles (or is it San Diego, Stephen A?) Chargers next week, and the Dolphins have to somehow lose to Buffalo or Jacksonville, two teams with nothing to play for that can’t make it to the offseason fast enough.
Now comes the fun part. Not only do those teams have to lose next week, but both the Colts and Titans have to also lose to the Giants and Redskins. Let’s go, NFC East, we still believe in you (we don’t).
Finally comes the unrealistic and even more fun part. If all of that above happens, and the Browns beat Cincinnati and take down the Ravens in Week 17, all they would then need is for Indianapolis and Tennessee to tie in their regular season finale.
Yes, that’s all it’s going to take. There have been a ton of ties this season, and if everything else plays out, it could happen.
All three teams would finish at 8-7-1, and the Ravens and Dolphins would end their seasons at 8-8, assuming Miami wins its finale.
Then come the tiebreakers. The NFL first eliminates teams within the same division, so the Colts would prevail because they own a head-to-head win over the Titans. And now we would be left with two teams, Cleveland and Indianapolis, so the rules state the league would apply the conference tiebreakers at this point.
Both teams would have identical conference records and no head-to-head meetings took place this season, so the common opponents tiebreaker would decide which team would go to the playoffs.
The Browns would have beaten the Bengals twice and the Jets, and lost to the Texans and Raiders. Meanwhile, the Colts would have losses to the Bengals, Jets and Texans, but have one win over the Texans.
Tiebreaker goes to Cleveland, the same team that finished last season without a single win.
I can’t think of a more Browns way of making the playoffs than that, so let’s see some magic.
Hopefully Gregg Williams and his staff are scouting the Steelers and Patriots.