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How can Browns clinch a playoff spot in Week 17?

We discuss the scenarios that could see the Cleveland Browns clinching a playoff spot in Week 17.

Joe Flacco #15 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the first half at NRG Stadium on December 24, 2023 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Update: Cleveland didn’t let it come down to other teams and controlled their own destiny by picking up the 37-20 win against New York. Despite the injuries to their QB room, they are guaranteed a spot in the AFC playoffs and still have a shot at the AFC North title, which would bring a top-four seed and home-field advantage in the first round.

The Cleveland Browns have somehow climbed to the top of the wild card standings in spite of going through four different quarterbacks this season. Joe Flacco has helped lead the team to three straight wins and they now sit at 10-5 heading into Week 17. The defense has been the key, but Flacco has impressed in spite of an extended absence.

The Browns now head into Week 17 with their first clinching scenario of the 2023 season. They have total control of their fate, but it is worth noting they retain faint hopes at winning the AFC North. If they win their final two games and the Ravens lose their final two games, the Browns would win the division title.

Cleveland Browns playoff clinching scenarios - Week 17

Cleveland clinches playoff berth with:

  1. CLE win or tie OR
  2. PIT loss or tie OR
  3. BUF loss OR
  4. JAX loss or tie OR
  5. HOU loss or tie + IND loss or tie

The Browns are hosting the Jets on Thursday Night Football. Cleveland is a 7.5-point favorite against New York at DraftKings Sportsbook and can punch their playoff ticket with a win on Thursday. If they lose (or tie), they can still clinch with the various scenarios above. The relevant games above include the following odds:

Steelers (+3.5) @ Seahawks
Bills (-12) vs. Patriots
Jaguars (-7) vs. Panthers
Texans (-3.5) vs. Titans
Colts (-3) vs. Raiders