How can the Cleveland Browns clinch a playoff spot?


The Cleveland Browns can clinch their first postseason appearance since 2002 in Week 16 of the 2020 NFL season.

CLEVELAND — Editor’s note: the video in the player above is from Dec. 20, 2020.

With their win over the New York Giants, the Cleveland Browns didn’t yet clinch a postseason bid. But the Browns might not have to wait long to end the NFL’s longest active playoff drought (17 years).

RELATED: More Cleveland Browns coverage from WKYC

While the Browns didn’t receive any help in their postseason quest on Sunday — the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins each won — their victory over the Giants increased their odds of making the postseason to 92 percent, according to advanced analytics site Five Thirty Eight. Those are higher odds than the Dolphins (31 percent), Ravens (89 percent) and Colts (90 percent) currently possess, while the Titans (97 percent) have higher postseason odds as a result of having the inside track to win the AFC South.

For the first time all season, Cleveland will enter a week with playoff-clinching scenarios in play. While a win over the 1-13 New York Jets would increase the Browns’ postseason odds to 98 percent (per Five Thirty Eight), a victory coupled with help elsewhere in the league could punch Cleveland’s ticket to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Entering Week 16, the Browns’ three postseason-clinching scenarios consist of the following outcomes:

  • Browns beat Jets, Colts lose to Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Browns beat Jets, Dolphins lose or tie to Las Vegas Raiders
  • Browns beat Jets, Ravens lose or tie to New York Giants

Meanwhile, if Cleveland loses to the Jets, it would drop the Browns’ playoff odds to 63 percent before factoring in any of the other outcomes in the AFC Wild Card race. Depending on how the Titans, Colts, Dolphins and Ravens fair in Week 16, a Cleveland loss could drop its playoff odds to between 37 and 90 percent.

In Week 17, Cleveland will host the Steelers. If Pittsburgh beats the Cincinnati Bengals this Monday night or Colts next week, it will clinch the AFC North. Meanwhile, two Steelers losses in the next two weeks coupled with a Browns win over the Jets would put the division on the line in the final week of the regular season.


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Marya Vinget

Marya Vinget is a freelance writer who works for may content writing agencies and for personal blog owners. She loves to write about everything from Tech to entertainment, You can hire her for the versatile writing attitude.