Two more wins, and the Browns don't need to worry about a thing.
That's always been the surest path to a playoff spot, and the Browns have earned that control through a "go 1-0 every week" mentality, which was exemplified yet again in Sunday's 20-6 victory over the Giants.
But for the first time this season, the Browns, at 10-4, enter Week 16 with a scenario in which they can clinch their first playoff spot since 2002. If Cleveland beats or ties the Jets on Sunday and gets a little help in one of three Week 16 games, it will earn its long-awaited ticket to the postseason.
Here's what needs to happen: The Browns CLINCH with a WIN over the Jets AND
- Miami Dolphins LOSS or TIE to Las Vegas Raiders OR
- Baltimore Ravens LOSS or TIE to New York Giants OR
- Indianapolis Colts LOSS to Pittsburgh Steelers
The Browns can also CLINCH with a TIE on Sunday AND
- Miami Dolphins LOSS to Las Vegas Raiders OR
- Baltimore Ravens LOSS to New York Giants
Miami faces Las Vegas on Saturday at 8:15 p.m., setting up a possible win-and-in scenario for the Browns when they face the Jets on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both the Ravens-Giants and Colts-Steelers games will be played Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Browns still have a path to winning the AFC North. Cleveland would need to beat the Jets and see Pittsburgh lose next week against the Colts to set up a Week 17 showdown between the Browns and Steelers for the division crown at FirstEnergy Stadium.
If the Browns win their next two games to finish the season with a 12-4 mark but don't win the division, they would enter the playoffs as a Wild Card team with the No. 5 seed.
Here's an updated look at the AFC standings. The top four teams have either clinched their division or are their current division leaders.
1. y - Kansas City (13-1)
2. y - Buffalo (11-3)
3. x - Pittsburgh (11-3)
4. Tennessee (10-4)
5. CLEVELAND (10-4)
6. Indianapolis (10-4)
7. Miami (9-5)
In the Hunt
8. Baltimore (9-5)
9. Las Vegas (7-7)
x - Clinched playoff spot
y - Clinched division
Check out photos of the Browns against the Giants