The Cleveland Browns are 9-5 with a small chance of catching the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North crown. Due to NFL playoff rules, the Browns best-case scenario is the fifth seed as the AFC’s top Wild Card team.
The current AFC playoff picture has Cleveland locked into that spot but there are four other Wild Card contenders just a game behind them.
With injuries piled on top of injuries, it is interesting that everywhere you look, watch and listen has the Browns with 90% or higher odds to make the playoffs. Despite only being a game up and barely beating the lowly Chicago Bears, there is a lot of confidence that Cleveland will have a postseason game.
DraftKings has the Browns at -800 to make the playoffs, a 90% implied odds. Of the teams currently listed, which does not include everyone at this point, only the Miami Dolphins have better odds to make the playoffs.
There are a couple of reasons:
- Current record
While one game doesn’t seem like much, the Browns holding that advantage makes it easier to prognosticate that they will reach the 10 or 11 wins necessary to make the playoffs.
- Upcoming schedule
Cleveland faces off with the Houston Texans, New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals to close the season. All three have quarterback injury issues with CJ Stroud still in concussion protocol, Zach Wilson placed in concussion protocol and Aaron Rodgers unlikely to return with the Jets eliminated and Jake Browning having some highs after starting out rough.
What may be the biggest swing for the Browns in the tiebreaker process. While there are numerous multi-team processes, Cleveland holds head-to-head victories over the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Bengals. They have a chance to add Houston to that list.
The Browns also have a strong 6-3 AFC conference mark, an important tiebreaker criterion.
Is Cleveland certain to make the playoffs? No. Odds change with every result. Right now, odds makers across the board give the Browns a strong chance to be in the postseason.
What do you think? Are you as confident as the odds makers that Cleveland will have at least one extra game this year?