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All the ways the Cleveland Browns can still make the NFL playoffs

The Cleveland Brownsloss to the New York Jets on Sunday goes to show you that things never comes easy for this city or team. Where does that put the Browns with respect to their hopes of making the NFL playoffs in 2020?

The Easiest Scenario

Technically, the Browns control their own destiny. If Cleveland defeats the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17, then the Browns will make the postseason as a wildcard team.

Backing Into the Playoffs

Let’s say the Browns end up losing to the Steelers. They can still make the postseason under two different scenarios.

Scenario #1 of Backing In

1. If the Colts lose to the Jaguars, the Browns would clinch a wildcard, regardless of what happens in the Browns-Steelers game. The Jaguars winning that game seems highly unlikely, considering they are 1-14 on the season — but Jacksonville’s only victory this year came in Week 1 against...the Indianapolis Colts.

Scenario #2 of Backing In

2. The other scenario involves the Tennessee Titans losing both of their games, with several other outcomes also going the Browns’ way. With this option, the following scenario would have to happen exactly as described here:

a. Titans lose in Week 16 to Packers, and lose in Week 17 to Texans
b. Ravens defeat the Bengals in Week 17
c. Dolphins defeat the Bills in Week 17

That would create a scenario in which the Colts, Ravens, and Dolphins would each be at least 11-5. The Colts would win the division, while the Ravens and Dolphins would have 2 wildcard spots. The Titans and Browns would be the only 10-6 teams in the AFC, and because the Browns won that head-to-head game earlier this year, Cleveland would win the tiebreaker to beat a wildcard. This scenario goes to hell if the Titans beat the Packers tonight.

Who Do We Root For?

  • Root like hell for the Cleveland Browns. If the Steelers play their backups next week, that would certainly help matters.
  • Root for the Packers to defeat the Titans tonight. Even though Scenario #2 above is unlikely to all come to fruition, it’s better to keep that possibility alive at least.
  • The rest of the rooting comes in Week 17; primarily, you root against the Colts.

God help us.