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Playoff Watch 1.0: Winning cures all

Franchise needs to get hot to finish the season with a winning record in order to capture one of the lower seeds

The Cleveland Browns are currently 6-6-0. This time last season they were 8-4-0 and smack in the middle of a three-game winning streak. Their sights were set on finally breaking that 17-year slump. In the end, Cleveland finished 11-5-0 and earned the sixth seed in the playoffs. Head coach Kevin Stefanski was named NFL Coach-of-the-Year.

What a difference one year brings. This season, the Browns are a roller coaster on the field. They have given away games (Steelers) and not taken advantage of four turnovers (Ravens) and at times appeared to be lion killers (Bengals) and then just have stunk up the place (Patriots).

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Not only are they 6-6-0, but the only control of their destiny from this point on is to simply win out. This season just like last year, along with four division winners in the AFC, there will also be awarded an extra Wild Card spot for a total of three.

But there is still hope. Cleveland is just two games out of first place in the division and one win away from getting back into the lower two playoff seeds.

Will the Browns make the playoffs? Let’s examine what the other teams are doing, and who has the best chances of making the post-season.


AFC North Division

#3 seed Baltimore Ravens 8-4-0

With another Baltimore loss Sunday 20-19 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens dropped their two-game division lead to just one over Cincinnati. Something more critical is that the Ravens were the Number 1 seed and now are the third seed. At 1-2 in the division race, they are poised for a division lead takeover. Where they are hurting is their conference win-loss record currently at 5-4. This alone may prove to be their biggest hurdle because best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference is the second tie-breaker right behind head-to-head games.

Division crown probability: 60%

Last five games: 3-2. Toughest opponents remaining: Browns, Packers, Bengals, Rams, Steelers

Post-season probability: 85%

Cincinnati Bengals 7-5-0

The Bengals could have been tied with the Ravens for the division lead but lost badly to the Chargers 41-22 in a game that they were never in. They sit soundly in second place just one game out of first, a half game over Pittsburgh and a full game over the Browns. The good news for Cincinnati is that they are 3-1 in the division.

Division crown probability: 25%

Last five games: 2-3. Toughest opponents remaining: 49ers, Broncos, Ravens, Chiefs, Browns

Post-season probability: 51%

Pittsburgh Steelers 6-5-1

The Steelers defeated one of the best clubs in the league this year the Ravens and allowed the Browns and themselves to gain ground on the division leaders. Just last week, there were many reports that the Steelers were already dead this year, but now have found a new life. Currently 2-2 in the division.

Division crown probability: 5%

Last five games: 2-2-1. Toughest opponents remaining: Titans, Chiefs, Browns, Ravens

Post-season probability: 20%

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns 6-6-0

Although on their bye week, the Browns picked up a half game on both the division leading Ravens and the second place Bengals which both lost. The Browns are currently last in the division and hold a 1-2 division record.

Division crown probability: 10%

Last five games: 2-3. Toughest opponents remaining: Ravens, Raiders, Packers, Steelers, Bengals

Post-season probability: 22%


AFC East

#1 seed New England Patriots 9-4-0

Last five games: 5-0. Toughest opponents remaining: Colts, Bills, Dolphins

Post-season probability: 99%

AFC South

#2 seed Tennessee Titans 8-4-0

Last five games: 3-2. Toughest opponents remaining: Steelers, 49ers, Dolphins

Post-season probability: 97%

AFC West

#4 seed Kansas City Chiefs 8-4-0

Last five games: 5-0. Toughest opponents remaining: Raiders, Chargers, Steelers, Bengals, Broncos

Post-season probability: 90%


Wild Cards

#5. Los Angeles Chargers 7-5-0

Last five games: 3-2. Toughest opponents remaining: Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders

Post-season probability: 63%

#6. Cincinnati Bengals 7-5-0

Last five games: 2-3. Toughest opponents remaining: 49ers, Broncos, Ravens, Chiefs, Browns

Post-season probability: 51%

#7. Buffalo Bills 7-5-0

Last five games: 2-3. Toughest opponents remaining: Buccaneers, Panthers, Patriots

Post-season probability: 77%


On the Outside

#8. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-5-1

Last five games: 2-2-1. Toughest opponents remaining: Titans, Chiefs, Browns, Ravens

Post-season probability: 20%

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

#9. Indianapolis Colts 7-6-0

Last five games: 4-1. Toughest opponents remaining: Patriots, Cardinals, Raiders

Post-season probability: 56%

#10. Las Vegas Raiders 6-6-0

Last five games: 1-4. Toughest opponents remaining: Chiefs, Browns, Broncos, Colts, Chargers

Post-season probability: 13%

#11. Cleveland Browns 6-6-0

Last five games: 2-3. Toughest opponents remaining: Ravens, Raiders, Packers, Steelers, Bengals

Post-season probability: 22%

#12. Denver Broncos 6-6-0

Last five games: 3-2. Toughest opponents remaining: Bengals, Raiders, Chargers, Chiefs

Post-season probability: 22%


Week 14 looking ahead: Results that could help the Browns

Thursday

Vikings over Steelers

Sunday

Browns over Ravens

Jaguars over Titans

Chiefs over Raiders

Lions over Broncos

Giants over Chargers

49ers over Bengals