With winless and losing streaks snapped Browns have new goal to aim for

Browns enter December mathematically alive for playoffs, but unlikely they make it

Daryl Ruiter
November 28, 2018 - 12:17 pm
Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – As the Browns enter December, they’re still mathematically alive for the playoffs – a monumental step for a franchise that won 1 game the previous two years combined.

In fact, they’ve already matched their win total – four – from the previous three years combined.

With five games to play, the Browns have already crossed all five key negative streaks off the 2018 season bucket list.

- The 17-game losing streak ended with the 21-21 Week 1 tie against the Steelers.

- They ended a 19-game winless streak with a 21-17 come-from-behind win over the Jets on Thursday night football that was also Baker Mayfield’s coming out party.

- The 18-game AFC North winless streak ended with a 12-9 overtime victory over the Ravens.

 - That victory over Baltimore also put to rest a 33-game losing streak on Sunday’s.

- Sunday’s 35-20 win in Cincinnati put to bed the final two streaks – a 25-game road losing streak and 64 games between back-to-back victories that dated back to Nov. 2014.

More importnatly, the Browns, who have a winning record within the division through four games for the first time, have finally found their franchise quarterback in Mayfield. 

So, what realistic goals should the Browns aim for down the stretch?

The one that seems the most achievable is to avoid finishing in last place within the division, again.

You must go back to 2010 – a 5-11 season – as the last time the Browns didn’t finish in the basement, a string of seven consecutive last-place finishes have followed since.

If the Browns can pull it off, it would also be just the fourth time they didn’t finish last in the North since the division was formed in 2002. In 2010 they were third and in 2007 and 2002 they finished second. In 2001 the Browns finished third in the old AFC Central and finished sixth in 1999 and 2000.

While mathematically the Browns are still alive at 4-6-1, here’s a cold dose of reality: one more loss and they’re probably done.

To legitimately remain in the playoff picture in December they’ll have to finish with a seven-game win streak, and that would be the longest since 1968’s eight-gamer – meaning that is highly unlikely and highly unrealistic.

The Houston Texans await this week looking for their ninth consecutive win, the struggling but still in contention Carolina Panthers follow. A trip to Denver, who just beat the Steelers is scheduled for Dec. 15 before they end the season at home against the Bengals and then at Baltimore Dec. 30, meaning that getting out of the AFC North cellar is the most achievable goal remaining.