The “what ifs” of sports is some of the most fun things to think about as sports fans and sports media. While players, coaches and teams focus on the field only, fans and media also get to look beyond.
Saying all that, we are not overlooking the Houston Texans when we look at who the Cleveland Browns could face in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Instead, with a day between the team’s last practice and the start of the NFL playoffs, what could come next is the big “what if.”
If the Browns lose in the Wild Card round, there will be a lot of topics to cover.
If Cleveland wins Saturday versus the Texans, the march to a potential AFC Championship Game will continue.
As we covered previously, the NFL doesn’t do a bracket-style playoff. We don’t know for sure what teams will play each other in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs until the games conclude on Wild Card weekend. The AFC will be decided on Sunday while the NFC will have to wait until Monday night.
For the Browns, a few options exist for their next opponent, assuming a win against Houston:
- Baltimore Ravens - If the second-seeded Buffalo Bills and third-seeded Kansas City Chiefs win this weekend, Cleveland would face off with their AFC North rival, and #1 seed, Baltimore in the next round.
- Bills or Chiefs - If only one of those two wins, the Browns would play that team while the Ravens face the team that pulled off the upset, Miami or Pittsburgh.
- Miami Dolphins - The only way Cleveland could host a playoff game is if both Buffalo and Kansas City get knocked off this weekend. If that happens, the Browns would play host to the Dolphins in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.
Interestingly, Cleveland can not play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the next round and would only face them in the AFC Championship game if both made it that far.
For any of that to matter, the Browns will need to beat the Texans on Saturday. If they do, Cleveland fans will be glued to Saturday night’s game (if they have Peacock) and Sunday’s 1 PM game to find out what is next on the Browns playoff schedule.