With all the games of Week 15 wrapped up except for the Baltimore Ravens, there are a few things to notice before the Ravens enter Ford Field.
The Cincinnati Bengals lost yesterday to the Pittsburgh Steelers on the national stage. Only because it benefited the Ravens, I wanted the Steelers to win. And why you may ask? How could it benefit the Ravens that much?
Well, though the Ravens have a tough schedule remaining, if they win out, the Ravens will claim the division from the Bengals. The Bengals played like they want the Ravens to overtake them against the Steelers.
It gets even better. If you have been watching more than the Ravens recently, you know the New England Patriots have been struggling mightily in the late-goings of the semester. The Ravens play the Patriots next week at home.
If the Ravens beat the Patriots, the Ravens have only lost once at home this season, the Ravens put themselves in position to take the 2nd seed in the AFC. Yes, you heard that right. The underdog Super Bowl Champions could rise up and get a bye-week during the first week of the playoffs.
For the struggling Ravens, this would benefit them greatly. And it all started with the Steelers. Thank you Steelers for making this possible. Of course, the Patriots need to lose their last game against the Buffalo Bills.
This is a longer shot, but it is very possible. The Patriots are not themselves with injuries affecting them, so the Ravens could easily slip by, owning the tiebreaker if they beat them next week.
Enough of these “only if this and that happens,” and let’s look at what’s really happening right now. The Ravens are looking from the outside-in as the 7th seed in the AFC, because the Miami Dolphins played on Sunday and the Ravens haven’t played yet.
If the Ravens win tonight, and the Patriots do not lose against the Bills in week 17, the Ravens are still not bad off. They can still win the division and get to play at home in the playoffs.
The Ravens have played mostly away games in the playoffs, so they are only 3-2 at home in the playoffs with a 14-7 overall record.
But do you remember the Joe Flacco of the playoffs? I sure do. And if that same Joe Flacco returns, the Ravens will be deadly in the playoffs despite the critics and the struggles the Ravens have had. And starting off at home would be a huge confidence booster, even without the bye-week.
All of this depends on the Ravens. If the Ravens win the rest of their games, they are in the clear for division champs and at least a #4 seed.
I won’t get into the possible match-ups in the playoffs. But right now, the Ravens need to focus on winning and maybe, just maybe, the Bills will beat the Patriots with every Ravens’ fan cheering them on.
Until then, enjoy the game, and let’s see how high the Ravens can soar.