CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns have already been eliminated from postseason contention, but there will still be plenty on the line when they face the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday.
Entering the final week of the 2021 regular season, Cleveland is currently projected to possess the No. 13 overall pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Browns' pick, however, could -- and will likely change -- depending on the outcomes of several games in Week 18, including their own. According to Anthony Reinhard of The Orange & Brown Report, Cleveland could find itself picking as high as 10th in this year's draft, based on the outcomes of Sunday's game.
So what does Cleveland need to happen to be select as high as possible this spring? Let's take a look:
Any path to the Browns picking 10th includes Cleveland losing to the Bengals on Sunday. With a win, the Browns would be hurting their draft positioning and would likely find themselves picking lower than they're currently slotted at 13th.
In addition to losing to Cincinnati, Cleveland also needs the Atlanta Falcons to beat the New Orleans Saints, the Washington Football Team to beat New York Giants and the Minnesota Vikings to beat the Chicago Bears. All four outcomes are required for the Browns to pick 10th.
From there, the outcome of the matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks will determine Cleveland's rooting interests.
If the Seahawks beat the Cardinals, the Browns need one of the following outcomes to occur:
- Detroit Lions beat Green Bay Packers
- Houston Texans beat Tennessee Titans
- Buffalo Bills beat New York Jets
- Miami Dolphins to beat New England Patriots
If the Cardinals beat the Seahawks, however, Cleveland will need at least three of those outcomes to occur.
Suffice to say, while the Browns might not be playing for a playoff spot on Sunday, fans in Cleveland still have plenty to pay attention to throughout the day.