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Thanksgiving games: Browns care about one of the 3 NFC games

Playoff tiebreakers could play a role this year in the AFC

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns and the rest of the AFC have zero games to watch on Thanksgiving. The NFC is controlling the November holiday as it often does with the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys always playing on the holiday.

This year, all six teams playing are from the NFC which means a vast majority of AFC fans just get to enjoy football without the stress of caring about the results.

As the Browns push toward the playoffs, we’ve kept you up to date with a rooting guide as well as a full breakdown in our Playoff Watch.

Today’s Turkey Day slate does have one game that could impact Clevleand’s playoff picture due to tiebreaker procedures.

For the AFC North, where the Browns are 1-1 versus both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, have these as the first six tiebreakers for the division title:

  1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
  4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  5. Strength of victory in all games.
  6. Strength of schedule in all games.

For a wild card spot, the top six changes a little:

  1. Head-to-head, if applicable.
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  4. Strength of victory in all games.
  5. Strength of schedule in all games.
  6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.

The first four teams on the field today are not on Cleveland’s schedule but both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks have already seen the orange and brown. As pointed out by a friend on social media, the Browns victory over the 49ers could impact the fifth and fourth tiebreakers listed above.

Simply stated, the more San Francisco wins, the better for Cleveland’s playoff hopes via tiebreakers.

Could it matter? Very much so ( with a slight correction to the tweet below: Baltimore would go 5-1 with just six games left and their bye week):

So, Browns fans, enjoy the first two games without a care in the world. Then put on your garnet red and gold to root on the Niners in the late game while you fight off a food coma.