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What are the Cleveland Browns' playoff odds after loss vs. Las Vegas Raiders?

The Cleveland Browns enter their Week 16 matchup with the Green Bay Packers with a 7-7 record.

CLEVELAND — With a depleted roster missing 18 players who had been placed on the COVID-19 list, the Cleveland Browns fought hard during their 16-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

RELATED: More Cleveland Browns coverage from WKYC

But as far as the Browns' playoff chances are concerned, the defeat counts all the same.

Falling to 7-7 on the season with three games remaining, Cleveland's playoff odds now sit at 15 percent, according to advanced analytics website Five Thirty-Eight. That marks a 24 percent drop from a week ago, following the Browns' Week 14 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

As a result, Cleveland enters its final three weeks of the 2021 campaign with practically no margin for error. With that in mind, let's take a look at where the Browns' path to the playoff stands following Cleveland's Week 15 defeat.

AFC North

AFC North standings

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1)
  4. Cleveland Browns (7-7)

While a win would have put the Browns in first place of the division, they now sit in last place as the first team in the AFC North to have amassed seven losses. Still, if the Browns are going to make the playoffs, their likeliest path is going to be through the AFC North, with Five Thirty-Eight giving Cleveland a 12 percent chance of winning its first division championship since 1989.

Of the Browns' three remaining games, two come against division opponents in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. With the Ravens' remaining games being against the Bengals, Los Angeles Rams and Steelers, it's not inconceivable that a 10-7 record would be enough for Cleveland -- which still holds most division tiebreakers -- to win the AFC North, although that would require the Browns to win their final three games.

AFC Wild Card

Through 15 weeks, here's how the AFC Playoff picture looks:

Division Leaders

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
  2. New England Patriots (9-5)
  3. Tennessee Titans (9-5)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)

Wild Card

  1. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)
  2. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)
  3. Buffalo Bills (8-6)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1)
  6. Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)
  7. Miami Dolphins (7-7)
  8. Cleveland Browns (7-7)
  9. Denver Broncos (7-7)

While the Bengals have jumped the Ravens as the current leaders in the AFC North, the conference's three Wild Card teams remain the same -- albeit, in a different order. With 10 teams in the conference currently possessing records between 8-6 and 7-7, Cleveland now finds itself in eighth place of the Wild Card race after being in fourth place a week ago.

What's more is that the Browns have lost head-to-head tiebreakers against two other Wild Card contenders (Chargers, Raiders), as well as two current division leaders (Chiefs, Patriots). According to Five Thirty-Eight's odds, Cleveland currently only has a three percent chance of earning a Wild Card spot, meaning that if the Browns are going to make the playoffs for a second straight year, it will most likely have to be by winning the division.

What's ahead?

Here are the games left on the Browns' 2021 schedule:

  • Dec. 25 at Green Bay Packers
  • Jan. 3 at Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Jan. 9 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Despite Monday's disappointing loss, three straight wins to close the 2021 campaign would likely secure the Browns a second straight postseason bid. The toughest part about that scenario to envision, however, is Cleveland winning three straight games, as the Browns haven't won consecutive games since Weeks 3 and 4 of the 2021 campaign.

Cleveland hardly has an easy road ahead, with a Christmas Day game on the road against the 11-3 Green Bay Packers looming. Even at 9-8 -- so long as both wins come against the Steelers and Bengals -- some playoff scenarios for the Browns exist, although at that point, they'd hardly control their own destiny.

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