With a record of 11-5, the Cleveland Browns are going to wind up the fifth seed in the AFC Playoffs. That means their final game of the year, which is on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals, will have no impact on their postseason seeding — so it could be an ideal time to rest some of their injured starters and prepare for their next opponent.
But who will it be that takes the fourth spot? Right now, there are three options, and all three come from the same division. All three also suffered a loss this year to the Browns with two of them losing at their stadium. That's important since Cleveland will have to go on the road despite having a superior record.
Browns will face the winner of the AFC South
Right now, the AFC South has three teams tied at 9-7. The Jacksonville Jaguars still control their destiny and can lock up the division with a win on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans — the only AFC South team with a losing record at 5-11. That feels like a likely win for the Jaguars, so they're the favorites to host the Browns in the Wild Card Round.
If they lose, then the winner of the game between Houston and Indianapolis makes it in. The winner there will wind up with a Wild Card spot if the Jaguars do take care of the Titans, but for now, that's not where the Browns are concerned. Their focus is on whoever winds up winning the division.
Whichever team wins, the Browns will have plenty of confidence. They defeated all four teams from the AFC South. They beat the Colts and Texans on the road, although Houston was without C.J. Stroud. The Jags lost in Cleveland, but that game was more lopsided than the score suggests, so the Browns won't be bothered by heading to Jacksonville.