While the City of Cleveland continues to celebrate (and recover) from the Cleveland Browns clinching a playoff birth in Week 17, there is still a ton up in the air for the postseason. That the Browns were able to clinch their playoff spot a week early creates some flexibility for their Week 18 plans but also some interesting outcome possibilities.
As we shared previously, the tiebreaker scenarios are complicated but vital to seeding process. When we wrote that article, the though was that Cleveland would be competing for a Wild Card spot in the last week of the season.
Now, Browns fans have far greater possibilities on the horizon.
Before any other Week 17 game gets played, Cleveland is still in the running for the first, second and fifth seeds in the AFC playoff standings. The most likely scenario is that the Browns are the conference’s fifth seed and go on the road in the Wild Card round but that is not certain.
Here are the three paths for Cleveland in the last two weeks:
Top Seed, Bye Week
- The Baltimore Ravens lose to the Miami Dolphins this week, Pittsburgh Steelers next week
- The Miami Dolphins beat the Ravens this week, lose to the Buffalo Bills next week
- The Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 18
2nd Seed, Host a Wild Card Game
- The Baltimore Ravens lose to the Miami Dolphins this week, Pittsburgh Steelers next week (Stays the same)
- The Miami Dolphins beat the Ravens this week and the Buffalo Bills next week (Changed)
- The Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 18 (Stays the same)
5th Seed, Travel for Wild Card Game
- Every other scenario including a Cleveland loss in Week 18
Realistic expectations are that the Browns will be traveling to play the 4th seed (the worst division champion) in the Wild Card round but there are realistic paths to there being a playoff home game in Cleveland this season.
Which of the three seeds to you think is most likely to occur?