The Cleveland Browns sit at 5-7-1 and have a very small chance of making the postseason this year, but no matter what happens, it's been an excellent year of progress for a team that went 0-16 in 2017.
Four teams are tied for the final wild card spot in the AFC with a 7-6 record. The Browns will realistically have to win out and finish 8-7-1, then hope the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins all go 1-2 or 0-3 down the stretch.
It's extremely unlikely the Browns get in, but not impossible either.
But even if the Browns fail to make the big party, safety Damarious Randall is more than pleased with how far they've come. And even though the postseason is a pipe dream at this point, Randall said the Browns feel like a team that will play January football.
"We feel like we're a playoff team," Randall said, per Nate Ulrich of The Akron Beacon Journal. "We feel like we deserve one of them six spots. We know we dug ourselves in a hole, and we know that we need some help. It starts with us winning out."
The Browns visit the 6-7 Denver Broncos this Saturday. The loser of that game will likely be out of the playoff race, so it's a must-win for both teams. After that, the Browns host the struggling Cincinnati Bengals then head on the road for a critical Week 17 clash with the Baltimore Ravens.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield has enjoyed a productive rookie season, looking every bit like a true No. 1 overall pick. He's tossed 2,877 yards and 19 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, giving this team a quarterback to build around for the future.
The defense has also been a formidable unit, led by 2017 first overall pick and sack machine Myles Garrett and rookie cornerback Denzel Ward. The Browns future is in extremely good hands, playoffs or not this year.
"If we win out, they just better not let us in the playoffs," Randall added. "We got all the pieces, man. We’re a complete team...we’re a tough out. And I mean that, and everybody knows that."
Take note, AFC.
What This Means
This is undoubtedly the best looking Cleveland team since 2007, when they won 10 games but narrowly missed out on the playoffs. The franchise may not end its 16-year playoff drought this season, but the team has to be happy with what they've accomplished.
Nobody thought the Browns would be in the hunt this late in the season, after all.