Despite defeating the New York Giants last night, the Cleveland Browns still don’t have a playoff spot locked up — they need to take care of business against the New York Jets. In a worst-case scenario, they’d even have to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17 to make it.
Hopefully it doesn’t get to that point — the Browns’ easiest path to a playoff spot would be a win over the Jets next week, combined with a loss by either the Miami Dolphins (against the Las Vegas Raiders) or the Indianapolis Colts (to the Pittsburgh Steelers).
With that said, it’s rare we get to look at crazy playoff scenarios, so let’s take a look at one before we know the outcome of tonight’s Steelers-Bengals game, and I’m curious what you would do if you were in Kevin Stefanski’s shoes.
- Let’s say the Ravens, Colts, Titans, and Dolphins all finish the season 2-0.
- Then, let’s also say the Steelers lose against the Bengals and Colts, while the Browns beat the Jets. That would set up the following scenario in Week 17, in a game that would probably be flexed to Sunday Night Football in this scenario:
What are the stakes in this scenario?
- If the Browns beat the Steelers, then Cleveland would win the division (Pittsburgh would be a wildcard).
- If the Browns tie the Steelers, then Cleveland would secure a wildcard spot.
- If the Browns lose to the Steelers, then Cleveland would miss the playoffs.
What Would You Do?
Let’s say the Browns and Steelers were tied 20-20 at the end of regulation, and the game goes to overtime. Cleveland’s defense comes up with a stop, and Pittsburgh punts the ball away to Cleveland with 2:00 left to go in overtime. In this scenario, Pittsburgh has no timeouts remaining.
If the Browns run some kneeldowns, they are guaranteed a playoff spot.
Or, they could be aggressive and try to move the ball in range for a field goal (or touchdown). But we know how dangerous Pittsburgh’s defense can be, and they aren’t going to sit back and do nothing — they don’t want to lose the AFC North. If the Browns turn it over, then Pittsburgh could kick a field goal to eliminate the Browns’ playoff chances.
There you have it, Browns fans — let us know in the poll and the comments section below what you would do!
What approach would you do if you were Kevin Stefanski in this specific scenario?
This poll is closed
Take a knee and lock up the top wildcard spot.
Run the ball three times — if you happen to break one, then maybe you can try a field goal to win the division (smaller risk of a running back fumble, but still risky).
Be aggressive and try to win the division — go for the score, even knowing that a three-and-out or turnover could make us miss the playoffs.