Week 18: Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
With a 10th win in Week 17, this game will probably mean very little for the Browns. That should be enough to get them into the playoffs but they might be able to play spoiler which would be plenty of motivation.
Despite losing Joe Burrow for the season, the Cincinnati Bengals have been able to string together a couple of wins in a row, They're now 7-6 and in 10th place in the AFC. That might feel like they're out of the playoff picture but their record is the same as the Indianapolis Colts (who they just defeated) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (who they play in Week 15).
Cincinnati could very well be in the mix by Week 18 but the Browns aren't going to want to see anyone from their division in the playoffs if they don't have to. That's why they'll come into this one looking to ensure the Bengals go home when the regular season ends.
While they'll be motivated, Jake Browning will as well. Burrow's backup has been playing well and knows he might not get a chance to start again after this game for a while. That fuels him to keep fighting despite facing an elite defense. In the end, the Browns are too much and win a close one. This would be their second 11-win season under Stefanski and it could be enough for him to get his second Coach of the Year award.
Final Score: Browns 21, Bengals 20
Browns Record: 11-6