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Gregg Williams explains why he's using playoffs as a motivator for surging Browns

It's still one game at a time. That much is clear when you listen to Gregg Williams explain why he's not afraid to use the "P" word around the Browns.

Before Sunday's game against the Bengals, Williams laid it out to the team. The Browns, even at 3-6-1, were still mathematically eligible to make the playoffs. All six of Cleveland's remaining opponents were playoff-eligible, and five were in the AFC.

The Browns took care of the first one Sunday in impressive fashion, downing the Bengals, 35-20, to move to 4-6-1. It put them one step closer to their goal, but there's so much more ground to cover.

Look at it one way, and it could be concluded Williams and the Browns were getting ahead of themselves. But the way Williams views it, the focus on the here and now is all that matters with that sort of motivator.

"All of that stuff does not mean anything if we do not get better today and if we do not take this next game correctly," Williams said. "Everything is eliminated if we do not understand the immediacy of each and every day and each and every practice."

Even if the Browns were to win out, a playoff spot wouldn't be guaranteed. According to The Upshot, a New York Times vertical that calculates real-time playoff scenarios, the Browns would have an 84 percent shot of qualifying for the playoffs if they were to run the table. One loss drops the odds significantly and two makes it a near impossibility.

It's a razor thin margin of error that vanishes if the Browns don't continue to build on their past two winning performances.

"It is a big talking point in the locker room and in meetings," linebacker Joe Schobert said. "Everything that we kind of set out for at the start of the year is pretty much still on the table in terms of playoffs. Every team we are playing for the rest of the year except for the Panthers is in the AFC and kind of teams that were fighting for and fighting against to make that playoff picture. If we can beat them, it helps our cause."

It was a talking point in training camp, too. Some players were more willing to go down that path than others, especially when the previous year's winless campaign was taken into consideration.

But this iteration of the Browns has already checked off a number of unfortunate distinctions that hung over their heads entering the 2018 season. There's another big one far off in the distance that requires every last hurdle to be cleared along the way.

One fall, and it's back to the start.

"We started out a little shaky, but I think that you are starting to see a team that everybody in this building knew was here," center JC Tretter said. "I think it is definitely a motivation. I think everybody wants to be one of those teams that is playing in January and into February, but if you look too much into that end goal, you kind of miss some things in the present. I think that is something that we can't do at this point.

"We need to take it one game at a time."