clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Update on Browns clinching scenarios, AFC playoff standings after Saturday’s games

Steelers vs Bengals and Bills vs Chargers impacted Browns playoff picture

Syndication: The Enquirer Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Merry Christmas Eve and happy Week 16 of the NFL season. This week’s slate of games already has three games completed while the Cleveland Browns hope to continue their winning ways against the Houston Texans.

The Browns came into this week with multiple scenarios to clinch an AFC playoff spot but it would have required several games to go in very specific ways. Interestingly, the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals could have gone either way and Cleveland could have still clinched.

We were rooting for a Steelers win to keep both teams at least a game behind after the conclusion of Week 16.

Of the eight scenarios that could clinch the playoffs for the Browns, all involved them beating the Texans on Sunday. Six included Pittsburgh losing and one was the two AFC North teams tying on Saturday.

With the Steelers taking the Bengals to the woodshed, that left just one clinching scenario left for Cleveland in Week 16:

  • CLE win + CIN loss + DEN loss or tie + BUF loss + MIA win or tie + IND loss or tie

Unfortunately for the Browns clinching hopes, and outlook for when the playoffs start, the Buffalo Bills were able to scratch out a win against the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night.

No matter what happens Sunday, Cleveland will not have clinched a playoff spot in Week 16.

With the two Saturday results, the current AFC playoff picture looks like this:

With a win against Houston, Cleveland would maintain the 5th seed in the AFC while hoping that the Baltimore Ravens lose to the San Francisco 49ers to keep the AFC North title a possibility. A loss on Sunday would put the Browns at least into three-way tie, if not four, for the fifth seed with tiebreakers deciding positioning.

Week 16 is vital for Cleveland. A win almost secures a playoff spot while a loss puts postseason hopes a little more at risk while setting up a more difficult matchup in the opening round.