The Cleveland Browns headed into Sunday with a slim shot at still securing the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. However, that opportunity quickly evaporated in Week 17, as the Baltimore Ravens dismantled the Miami Dolphins 56-19.
The Browns needed a Ravens loss to have any chance at nabbing the top spot in the AFC or the division crown. Instead, with Baltimore's victory, Cleveland's seeding for the playoffs is now official.
The Browns are locked in as the AFC's No. 5 seed for the upcoming playoffs. The top four seeds are reserved for each division winner, so the Ravens taking home the AFC North title bumped Cleveland from this tier. Kevin Stefanski's squad can't be surpassed by the teams behind them in the postseason standings, either, so they already know their seeding heading into Week 18.
Since the Browns didn't win the division, they're guaranteed to play on the road during Wild Card Weekend. The 5-seed faces the 4-seed in the NFL's recently updated playoff format. Right now, the No. 4 team in the conference is expected to be the AFC South division champion, which is the 9-7 Jacksonville Jaguars.
However, the 9-6 Kansas City Chiefs could possibly nab the 4-seed as well. While they're currenly No. 3, they're also in action during Week 17's late-afternoon slate versus the Cincinnati Bengals. A pair of losses by the Chiefs down the stretch would set them up to fall to No. 4, leading to Cleveland traveling to Arrowhead Stadium for the first round.
Surely the Dawg Pound is rooting for the Chiefs to not suffer a collapse over their final two games. While Andy Reid's team isn't looking as menacing as they have during their prolific run, facing Patrick Mahomes and company at home in the postseason isn't an exciting prospect.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars currently have an injured Trevor Lawrence to worry about, and he's struggled of late with top target Christian Kirk sidelined indefinitely. Jacksonville's inconsistency makes that group an ideal opponent, especially against a tightly run Browns ship.
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