What needs to happen to help the Cleveland Browns playoff hopes?
Heading into week 12 of this NFL season, the Cleveland Browns are touting a record of 7-3. Normally, this would have a team in the mix to win their division, but the Browns are in a situation that is far from that.
They share a division with the Pittsburgh Steelers who enter Week 12 as the only undefeated team in the NFL at 10-0. Dreams of taking the division title from the Steelers are all but impossible at this point. The main focus should be on securing one of the three available wild card slots.
However, these wild card spots are not going to be easy to come by. There are currently five teams within a game of each other who could all easily take these wild card playoff spots. Cleveland currently rests with the second wild-card spot and control their destiny. But they are one bad loss away from having a tough road back into the playoffs.
Here are the games that the Browns should be rooting for to give them the much-needed cushion in the AFC wild-card race.
Steelers take care of business on Thanksgiving night
The Pittsburgh Steelers play host to the Baltimore Ravens for a special Thursday night Thanksgiving football game. A Steelers win would give the Browns a lot to be thankful for as they spend Thanksgiving at home.
Advocating for the rooting for the Steelers leaves a bad taste in my mouth as there is no love lost between these two teams. However, it improves the Browns playoff chances if the Steelers stick it to the Ravens.
Cleveland is extremely unlikely to catch the Steelers to take the division as they are currently three games back. With six games remaining in the season, that is not going to happen.
The more important aspect of this game is that the Browns get another game of cushion on the Baltimore Ravens. The Browns hold a one-game lead on the Ravens in the wild card chase. If the Steelers can hand the Ravens, their third loss of the season it would only increase the lead that the Browns have on them in the standings.
The Steelers should enter the game as favorites and there is no need to root for an upset here. The Ravens have been reeling over the past couple of weeks and if their losing streak continues it could go a long way to benefit the Browns playoff chances.