Browns eliminated from 2021 NFL playoff contention before playing in Week 17

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The Cleveland Browns are officially eliminated from 2021 NFL playoff contention before getting to take the field in Week 17. What seemed like a forgone conclusion to many when the team fell to the Las Vegas Raiders and Green Bay Packers, became a certainty on Sunday.

First, the Cincinnati Bengals clinched the AFC North crown with a late-game win against the Kansas City Chiefs. The division was the most likely route for the Browns playoff chances. Had the Bengals lost, Cleveland would have controlled their own playoff destiny and won the division with two victories.

The Cincinnati win left the Browns with a very small chance for the playoffs but required a variety of games to fall their way. Instead, the first game that the team needed went against them with the Los Angeles Chargers defeating the Denver Broncos in the 4 PM window Sunday.

With the Chargers victory, Cleveland’s small playoff hopes vanished.

The 2021 NFL season came with a lot of expectations for the Browns but ends with them having two meaningless games at the end.

With Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward entering the final year of their rookie contracts and a variety of veterans, mostly signed this offseason to one-year deals, set to become free agents, Cleveland faces an important offseason in 2022. How the team finishes the season will decide where they are picking in the 2022 NFL draft (we did two mocks earlier this week) and the difficulty of their schedule next year.

All hopes for 2021 are finished for the Cleveland Browns. Just two games left to finalize the year and move forward to the next.