Followers of the Baltimore Ravens are asking the question about the viability of the team making the playoffs this year. They have done so for five consecutive seasons, and folks in Charm City have grown used to this tradition.
But after losing four of the past five games and falling to a record of 4-6, it would seem that fans are getting mentally prepared for the unthinkable. Tied with the Steelers and Browns at 2.5 games behind the Bengals, the chances of winning the division do not appear to be strong.
|Cincinnati Bengals||7||4||0||.636||0.0||275||206||5 – 0 – 0||2 – 4 – 0||5 – 3 – 0||2 – 2 – 0||1 W|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||4||6||0||.400||2.5||216||245||3 – 2 – 0||1 – 4 – 0||3 – 4 – 0||1 – 1 – 0||2 W|
|Baltimore Ravens||4||6||0||.400||2.5||208||212||3 – 1 – 0||1 – 5 – 0||4 – 4 – 0||2 – 2 – 0||1 L|
|Cleveland Browns||4||6||0||.400||2.5||192||238||3 – 2 – 0||1 – 4 – 0||3 – 4 – 0||2 – 2 – 0||1 L|
There would appear to only be one wildcard position possibly open. With the Colts, Bengals, and Patriots as probable winners of their divisions, along with the Broncos and Chiefs both at 9-1, there is only going to be one last playoff position available. And yes, the Ravens could go on a late-season tear – it has been done before, as we all know. But the Jets and Dolphins are at 5-5, and the Raiders, Chargers, and Titans all also sport the same 4-6 record as the three teams in the AFC North.
So, doing the math, this makes eight teams vying for one final spot. More math – this means their chances are 12.5%. That was painful to type. But winning the coming three home games and going to 7-6 would certainly grow the odds to a much nicer-looking number.
Here are the records for the Ravens over the previous five seasons after 10 games:
2012 … 8-2
2011 … 7-3
2010 … 7-3
2009 … 5-5
2008 … 6-4
The remaining schedule has four out of six games at home: Jets, Steelers, Vikings, and Patriots; with two on the road at the Lions and Bengals (final game). The combined record of these six teams is 31-32 (but take out the 2-8 Vikings and it does not look as positive … 29-22). The Ravens will have to win five games, and likely all six.
It would be sad for Ravens fans to see the streak ended, but streaks of all sorts have a way of doing that. After a run of 60 years of a mysterious stranger – on the evening of the anniversary of Edgar Allen Poe’s death – leaving a bottle of cognac and three roses on his grave, the streak came to an end in 2009.
The odds are pretty high that the Ravens’ playoff appearance streak will also die. I don’t do cognac, but I can bring the roses.