RCL Exclusive

The Browns, Yes, the Browns, Have a Shot at the NFL Playoffs

It is not a good shot, but, hey, this is the Cleveland Browns we’re talking about.

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Tis the season of miracles.

And, if the 6-7-1 Cleveland Browns are going to make the playoffs this season, they are going to need a Santa-sized one which, quite frankly, they almost surely won’t get.

The calculations for the Browns to make the postseason are a popsicle headache, but here goes …

First off, for the Browns to make the playoffs they need to win on Sunday at home against the Cincinnati Bengals and in Baltimore against the Ravens over the final weekend of the season.

But that’s not all; far from it.

For Cleveland to qualify for the final wild-card spot in the AFC and end a postseason drought that has lasted since January of 2003, the Browns also need the Ravens to lose to the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night. They then need the Miami Dolphins to lose one of their two remaining regular-season games at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars or on the road against the Buffalo Bills in Week 17. After that, they need the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans to both lose in Week 16 and tie when they meet in Week 17.

So, as noted above, it probably won’t happen. It’s so remote that FiveThirtyEight has Cleveland’s playoff chances at less than one percent. But the fact that it is even a possibility is a testament to how much better the Browns – who didn’t even win a single game last year under coach Hue Jackson – have been this year with rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield in the fold.

They aren’t the cream of the crop in the NFL, but the Browns may have pulled themselves from the darkest depths of the league to the top half of pro football.

But how do the power rankers from ESPNNFL.com, and USA Today see it?

Find out in the latest edition of RealClearLife‘s Ultimate NFL Power Rankings, which combine ratings from those three outlets to get a single rank for all 32 teams in NFL and use segmented tiers to arrange them.

Also, for an even greater perspective on how the season has been progressing, check out how each team’s season average ranking compares with where they finished this week and last.

The Best of the Best (1.00-5.33)

No. 1.00, last 1.66, two weeks ago 1.00, season average 3.35: New Orleans Saints (ESPN, 1), (NFL.com, 1), (USA Today, 1)

No. 2.00, last 4.33, two weeks ago 5.00, season average 7.10: Los Angeles Chargers (ESPN, 2), (NFL.com, 2), (USA Today, 2)

No. 3.66, last 2.33, two weeks ago 3.66, season average 3.22: Kansas City Chiefs (ESPN, 3), (NFL.com, 3), (USA Today, 5)

No. 4.00, last 6.00, two weeks ago 8.33, season average 10.73: Chicago Bears (ESPN, 5), (NFL.com, 4), (USA Today, 3)

No. 4.33, last 2.66, two weeks ago 1.33, season average 1.91: Los Angeles Rams (ESPN, 4), (NFL.com, 5), (USA Today, 4)

The Best of the Rest (5.34-10.66)

No. 6.66, last 7.00, two weeks ago 6.00, season average 14.77: Houston Texans (ESPN, 6), (NFL.com, 7), (USA Today, 7)

No. 7.33, last 4.66, two weeks ago 3.33, season average 4.83: New England Patriots (ESPN, 7), (NFL.com, 6), (USA Today, 9)

No. 7.66, last 11.66, two weeks ago 13.66, season average 20.46: Indianapolis Colts (ESPN, 9), (NFL.com, 8), (USA Today, 6)

No. 8.33, last 11.00, two weeks ago 7.33, season average 8.73: Pittsburgh Steelers (ESPN, 8), (NFL.com, 9), (USA Today, 8)

No. 10.00, last 10.33, two weeks ago 11.33, season average 11.55: Baltimore Ravens (ESPN, 10), (NFL.com, 10), (USA Today, 10)

So You’re Saying There’s a Chance (10.67-15.99)

No. 11.33, last 8.66, two weeks ago 9.66, season average 16.70: Seattle Seahawks (ESPN, 11), (NFL.com, 11), (USA Today, 12)

No. 12.66, last 14.00, two weeks ago 17.00, season average 17.70: Tennessee Titans (ESPN, 14), (NFL.com, 13), (USA Today, 11)

No. 13.00, last 13.66, two weeks ago 12.00, season average 9.33: Minnesota Vikings (ESPN, 13), (NFL.com, 12), (USA Today, 14)

No. 13.00, last 8.33, two weeks ago 9.33, season average 17.77: Dallas Cowboys (ESPN, 12), (NFL.com, 14), (USA Today, 13)

No. 15.00, last 17.33, two weeks ago 15.33, season average 12.15: Philadelphia Eagles (ESPN, 15), (NFL.com, 15), (USA Today, 15)

Stuck in the Middle with You (16.00-21.32)

No. 16.33, last 18.66, two weeks ago 21.00, season average 21.88: Cleveland Browns (ESPN, 17), (NFL.com, 16), (USA Today, 16)

No. 17.00, last 13.00, two weeks ago 15.33, season average 19.93: Denver Broncos (ESPN, 20), (NFL.com, 17), (USA Today, 24)

No. 18.33, last 15.33, two weeks ago 19.00, season average 18.46: Miami Dolphins (ESPN, 18), (NFL.com, 20), (USA Today, 17)

No. 18.66, last 18.00, two weeks ago 21.00, season average 13.41: Green Bay Packers (ESPN, 19), (NFL.com, 18), (USA Today, 19)

No. 19.00, last 18.66, two weeks ago 15.33, season average 10.88: Carolina Panthers (ESPN, 16), (NFL.com, 23), (USA Today, 18)

It’s Probably Not Your Year  (21.33-26.65)

No. 21.66, last 23.00, two weeks ago 18.33, season average 15.84: Washington Redskins (ESPN, 21), (NFL.com, 19), (USA Today, 25)

No. 22.00, last 23.33, two weeks ago 22.33, season average 17.24: Atlanta Falcons (ESPN, 22), (NFL.com, 24), (USA Today, 20)

No. 23.00, last 21.33, two weeks ago 24.00, season average 26.17: New York Giants (ESPN, 23), (NFL.com, 25), (USA Today, 21)

No. 24.66, last 23.66, two weeks ago 24.00, season average 21.50: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ESPN, 24), (NFL.com, 28), (USA Today, 22)

No. 25.33, last 27.66, two weeks ago 26.00, season average 28.55: Buffalo Bills (ESPN, 27), (NFL.com, 21), (USA Today, 28)

No. 25.66, last 23.33, two weeks ago 24.33, season average 23.06: Detroit Lions (ESPN, 26), (NFL.com, 22), (USA Today, 29)

See You in 2019  (26.66-32.00)

No. 26.00, last 27.00, two weeks ago 26.33, season average 16.41: Cincinnati Bengals (ESPN, 25), (NFL.com, 27), (USA Today, 26)

No. 26.00, last 28.66, two weeks ago 31.33, season average 28.46: San Francisco 49ers (ESPN, 26), (NFL.com, 29), (USA Today, 23)

No. 29.00, last 29.33, two weeks ago 30.00, season average 26.99: New York Jets (ESPN, 30), (NFL.com, 30), (USA Today, 28)

No. 30.00, last 29.00, two weeks ago 26.33, season average 17.39: Jacksonville Jaguars (ESPN, 28), (NFL.com, 31), (USA Today, 31)

No. 30.00, last 29.00, two weeks ago 30.33, season average 30.30: Oakland Raiders (ESPN, 31), (NFL.com, 29), (USA Today, 30)

No. 32.00, last 32.00, two weeks ago 30.33, season average 30.84: Arizona Cardinals (ESPN, 32), (NFL.com, 32), (USA Today, 32)