The Baltimore Ravens need to get back on the winning track in week 16 to remain ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North as well as the key #2 seed in the AFC playoff race. However, there are eight other games that will affect the AFC playoff race going into the final two weeks of the regular season. The Ravens will host the Cleveland Browns while the Steelers will host the St. Louis Rams. Both games should result in wins for the home team, keeping the standings as they are in both the division and playoff seeding.
There are other games that still could affect the Ravens place in the conference seeding, although if the Ravens win out, the worst thing they can do is finish with the #2 seed, a first-round bye and at least one home playoff game. The New England Patriots, who currently hold the #1 seed in the AFC, host the Miami Dolphins this week and while the are expected to win this game, a loss combined with a Ravens victory would catapult the Ravens over the Pats into the #1 seed.
Other key AFC games that could affect the playoffs are the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Arizona Cardinals, the New York Jets "hosting" the New York Giants, and the Houston Texans leading off the week 16 schedule at the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.
that leaves the playoff mess known as the AFC West, where all four teams are currently still in the hunt for the division crown and what will ultimately be the 4th seed and a first round home playoff game. A lot is on the line for a lot of teams, but week 16 will make the playoff picture a bit clearer once the dust of the weekend clears.
From a Ravens fan's perspective, here's your rooting interests other than Baltimore this weekend:
Go Rams, Dolphins, Cardinals, Giants and Colts!