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Browns Loss on Thursday Night Would Help Steelers Playoff Push



Browns Steelers WR Amari Cooper
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper (2) catches a pass during an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Pittsburgh, PA. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

The Pittsburgh Steelers, and especially Steelers fans, will find themselves in a familiar position on Thursday night: rooting against the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns are playing the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football, and while the chance of the Steelers catching the Browns is great, a Cleveland loss would help their playoff odds.

The Browns are 10-5, two games ahead of the Steelers in the AFC North, and the No. 5 overall seed in the AFC Wild Card standings. If the Steelers win out and the Browns lose out, the Steelers would win the tiebreaker at 10-7, thanks to their head-to-head split and better divisional record.

If that happens, it opens up possibilities for the Steelers beyond needing two of the three AFC South teams at 8-7 to lose, or having the Kansas City Chiefs or Buffalo Bills fall apart down the stretch.

If the Browns win, the Steelers will not be able to pass Cleveland, and thus be eliminated from contention from the No. 5 seed. The Steelers have never finished behind the Browns in AFC North play since the division was founded in 2002.

The Steelers enter Week 17 with a 12% chance of making the playoffs, according to the New York Times playoff simulator, but much of that is a lack of faith in the Steelers’ ability to win their final two games. If the Steelers win out, the NYT says the have a 92% chance of getting the help they need to make the postseason.

If the Browns beat the Jets, that number falls to 91%. If New York is somehow able to come up with an upset, it rises to 95%. The Jets are 7.5-point underdogs in the game, according to odds posted at ESPN Bet.

New customers to ESPN Bet can get a free $250 bet with any new signup. Click the link and use promo code STEEL to get an extra $50 off, exclusively for Steelers Now readers.


1 Baltimore Ravens 11-3
2 Miami Dolphins 11-4
3 Kansas City Chiefs 9-6
4 Jacksonville Jaguars 8-7
5 Cleveland Browns 10-5
6 Buffalo Bills 9-6
7 Indianapolis Colts 8-7
8 Houston Texans 8-7
9 Pittsburgh Steelers 8-7
10 Cincinnati Bengals 8-7
11 Las Vegas Raiders 7-8
12 Denver Broncos 7-8
13 New York Jets 6-9
14 Tennessee Titans 5-10
15 Los Angeles Chargers 5-10
16 New England Patriots 4-11


Overall AFC North AFC Head-to-head
Ravens 11-3 3-2 7-3 CIN 2-0, CLE 1-1, PIT 0-1
Browns 9-5 3-2 6-3 BAL 1-1, CIN 1-0, PIT 1-1
Steelers 8-7 4-1 6-5 BAL 1-0, CLE 1-1, CIN 2-0
Bengals 8-7 0-5 3-7 CLE 0-1, BAL 0-2, PIT 0-2