After the Steelers’ first loss of the season, a shocking 23-17 upset to the Washington Football Team. The Browns find themselves just two games out of the division lead. However, with four games to go, it will take both the Browns playing very good football, as well as the Steelers dropping some games. If the Browns are able to pull off the comeback, they would win their first division title since 1989, when they played in the AFC Central. It would also be helpful as the Browns would get the opportunity to face a wild-card team and host the first playoff game in Cleveland since 1994.
While it is fun to think about the Browns winning the division, it is very unlikely, with the Browns currently having a 5% chance to do so, according to fivethirtyeight.com. If the Browns win out, their chances to win the division would increase to 27%. If the Browns win three of their final four, their chances are 8%. However, they would need to beat the Steelers in Week 17 to have any chance to win the division. The Browns chances are made more difficult by the fact that they can’t finish any better than 4-2 in the division and the Steelers would need to lose both of their final two division games, which includes a matchup with the Brandon Allen-led Bengals, to be 4-2 in the division.
If the Steelers drop their games against the Colts and Bills, who both currently sit in the playoff hunt, and the Browns win all of their next three games, it will set up a winner-take-all matchup between two 12-3 teams for the AFC North crown. This would require the Browns to win each of their next three games, including a victory over the Ravens who routed them 38-6 in Week 1.
It will take a lot of help for the Browns to win the division, but crazier things have happened. If the Browns keep playing as they did on Sunday against the Titans, they’ll have a chance.