Don’t look now, but the Cleveland Browns are on the verge of their first playoff appearance since 2002. Their road win over the New York Giants on Sunday night improved their record to 10-4 and moved them a step closer to securing an AFC Wild Card spot.
Now, the Browns have to get ready to return to MetLife Stadium for a date with the New York Jets on Sunday. A Browns win combined with a loss from any other Wild Card contender means the Browns are in. And hey, beating the Jets (1-13) should be no issue at all, right?
Well, that’s what everyone used to think. Then the Jets went on the road and tackled the Los Angeles Rams. The game meant nothing to the Jets. It was important for the Rams. So perhaps the Browns will learn from that outcome. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski apparently hopes they do.
“When our players see that tape [of the win over the Rams], they’ll understand the challenge in front of us,” Stefanski told reporters.
The Jets really have nothing to play for anymore. Their win Sunday almost certainly removed them from landing the No. 1 overall pick. The only way they get that top pick back is if the Jacksonville Jaguars pull an equally boneheaded move and also win.
So the Jets may as well go ahead and try to win again and play the role of spoiler. As for Stefanski and the Browns, they are well aware that another win means they are all but officially in. But Stefanski insisted he isn’t going to be keeping track of what is going with other Wild Card contenders on Sunday.
“I’ll look at the scoreboard of the Browns vs. the Jets,” he said.