Sitting pretty as the second seed, the Baltimore Ravens have the luxury of sitting back and watching four teams battle it out in the divisional round of the playoffs this weekend. There are several scenarios that could play out and each one produces a different challenge for the Ravens.
The game that should mean the most to fans here in Baltimore is the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Houston Texans. If Houston wins then it does not matter who wins the other game because they are the highest seed in the wild card round and will be heading to Charm City for sure.
If Cincinnati is to win then it would be the winner of the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Denver Broncos that would face the Ravens. Because Cincinnati is the lowest seed they would automatically head to New England to play the number one over all seed Patriots.
Baltimore has a 5-0 record against the teams playing this weekend. they have beaten the Steelers and Bengals twice and also beat the Texans earlier this year when they still had all-pro quarterback Matt Shaub at the helm. The only team Baltimore has not faced is the Denver Broncos who they have owned over the past few years.
Although the Ravens won these games only one of them was a dominant win, week one against the Steelers in Baltimore. Each one of these teams will present a major challenge for them.
The Steelers know the Ravens well and play them hard every time they match up. If Houston loses and Pittsburgh wins you know we will be in for a dog fight once again in the playoffs and many fans wouldn't have it any other way.
The Texans boast the 2nd ranked defense in the NFL and have a nasty pass rush if they were to come to Baltimore I don't think it would be the cake walk many fans would expect just because they have their third string quarterback starting. Houston is built very much like the Ravens in that they have a dominant run game and physical, run stopping defense.
The other option would be Denver and I don't think that anyone wants to see any Tebow magic here at M&T Bank Stadium. It would seem that the Ravens and Steelers are built to stop a team like Denver with Tim Tebow at the helm but if they are able to beat the Steelers anything is possible.
In my opinion the best Scenario would be if Houston and Pittsburgh both won. Not because I'd rather see the Texans than the Steelers but because I think the Steelers have a better chance of going into New England and winning. We all saw how well the Broncos matched up against the Patriots earlier this season. If that were to happen and we beat the Texans then Baltimore would host it's second playoff game this season and Pittsburgh would have to come here for the AFC Championship.