Season recap: Browns playoff berth still alive

After the sports world witnessed the city of Atlanta win a title from one of their sports teams, nothing is impossible! The Atlanta United FC Five Stripes broke a 23-year-old curse in the city. Find out what it meant to the city here.

But the real sports news that seems impossible, is the news of the Cleveland Browns still being in the playoff hunt. Yes, that’s right, the 0-16 Browns from a year ago are currently sitting at 6-7-1 and have continued to surprise us all. A Browns playoff berth could be possible this season.

Baker Mayfield - Browns playoff berth
Baker Mayfield” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Past two seasons (1-31)

Over the last two seasons, the Browns have finished with the worst record in the NFL. That has helped them draft players like Jabrill Peppers, Myles Garrett and Rookie of the Year candidate, Baker Mayfield! In 2016, they finished with a 1-15 record and had three first round picks in 2017: Garrett (1st), Peppers (25th) and David Njoku (29th).

Those picks, along with others, had the tough task to lose all their games in 2017. It is actually hard for a team to lose all 16 games in a season, but the Browns did the impossible. They went 0-16 and set themselves up for another set of great picks. Joel Deering previously wrote an article explaining why Baker Mayfield should’ve been the first overall pick, as he was.

Well, the Browns must have gotten a hold of that letter, because they did just that. But they also made a lot more moves this season to get them where they are.

 

This Season (6-7-1)

So let’s take a look at all the transactions the Browns made to get them here, in the playoff hunt! The first thing they did was trade for several different players and picks.

Preseason trades:

Trades like sending QB Deshone Kizer to Green Bay for DB Damarious Randall. Or sending a 2018 3rd-round pick to Buffalo for QB Tyrod Taylor. They sent another pair of picks to Miami for WR Jarvis Landry.

With the trade for Taylor, the Browns traded both QBs Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler in two separate deals for more picks.

They also signed several free agents, such as DB T.J. Carrie, RB Carlos Hyde and OL Chris Hubbard.

2018 Draft: 

The biggest offensive moves were madein draft, when they drafted QB Baker Mayfield first overall. They also drafted Georgia RB Nick Chubb (35th) and Florida WR Antonio Callaway (105th). We have seen all season long what these three are capable of doing together.

In-season moves:

Their real potential of being a dangerous offense didn’t come until other moves were made. The Browns trading longtime troubled WR Josh Gordon to the New England Patriots was one. The other was the firing of both the head coach and offensive coordinator. While naming defensive coordinator Gregg Williams interim head coach. You can find all the transactions of the Browns here.

Browns playoff berth still alive

The move to fire head coach Hue Jackson and OC Todd Haley kind of came as a surprise to some, at least it was for me. Jackson’s firing was okay, because he clearly had not shown anything with their 1-31 record over the past two seasons. This season was looking like much of the same after being 2-5-1. Since those firings, things have started to turn around for the Browns. They are currently 6-7-1 and have won four of their last six games, including two in a row. A Browns playoff berth is possible because of this.

But things really did not start to matter until after the Browns got their first in nearly two years, thanks to Mayfield. You can read more about the start of the Mayfield Era here.

With their current win streak, the Browns are still in the hunt for the final AFC playoff spot. They will need a lot of help to get there though, as they are still behind Baltimore, Miami, Indianapolis and Tennessee, who all have better records than the Browns after today’s games. They are also only one and a half games back of the division leading Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1). Now wouldn’t that be a nice story to tell the Browns fans who have faced all the struggles?

The last time the Browns made the playoffs was in 2002 when they lost in the Wild Card game against the Steelers 36-33 after blowing a lead late in the fourth quarter. Can they make it into the playoffs this season?

Let’s keep an eye on how the rest of the teams do over the next few weeks. A Browns playoff berth could be possible this season!

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