The Cleveland Browns put up 41 points over the Tennessee Titans this week in what was probably one of their hardest games remaining on their schedule, in doing so running their winning streak up to four games—their second winning streak of four games of the year.
With that win, they secured for themselves a winning record, which will be their first winning record since 2007. At 9-3, this is the best record that they have held since 1994, when Bill Belichick was still their head coach.
And now they finally watched the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers drop a game, this to the Washington Football Team, who came into the game with just a 4-7 record. And it was at home, on top of that. It was certainly a game that they should have won, even considering the fact that they were working on a short week, and Washington had an extra day.
Suddenly, the Browns are only two games back for the division lead, and they still have another game to play against the Steelers before the season is over, in the finale. And you would be fooling yourselves if you were to think that they weren’t watching.
Myles Garrett, who is second in the league in sacks behind T.J. Watt, certainly noticed. “Steelers might have opened the door”, he wrote on Twitter after the game, complete with a big-eyes emoji. The Browns have never won the AFC North, ever. The last time they won a division was all the way back in 1989, in the now-defunct AFC Central.
Steelers might have opened the door 👀
— Flash Garrett ⚡️ (@MylesLGarrett) December 8, 2020
In addition to the Steelers in the finale, the Browns have two games against the New York teams, the Jets and the Giants. The Jets are 0-11. While the Giants have been doing better lately, and they have plenty to play for—and it is on the road—Cleveland is still the better team.
The big game might be their next, against the Baltimore Ravens, who are already out of the running for the AFC North. But they just got Lamar Jackson back off the Reserve/Covid-19 List, along with numerous other players, with more to come—Mark Andrews, Matt Judon, and Willie Snead among them.
We could enter a scenario in which the Steelers need the Ravens to win that game, because Pittsburgh’s remaining schedule is not easy. Next up is a road trip against the 9-3 Buffalo Bills, continuing on to Cincinnati.
Then they come back home to host their final regular season game at Heinz Field against the Indianapolis Colts, who are also having a good season, before facing the Browns, in Cleveland, for the finale. It’s not unreasonable to believe that both teams could enter that game with 12-3 records. This race isn’t over yet.