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The most important game left on the Ravens' schedule

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The Ravens have six games remaining. Which one is the most important?

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Here's Marshall Faulk's GMC Playbook question of the week:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>My <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GMCPlaybook?src=hash">#GMCPlaybook</a> question to <a href="https://twitter.com/SBNation">@SBNation</a>: What ONE remaining game matters most to your team? <a href="http://t.co/K7mHOw4HRX">http://t.co/K7mHOw4HRX</a></p>&mdash; Marshall Faulk (@marshallfaulk) <a href="https://twitter.com/marshallfaulk/status/532916603814686722">November 13, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Sometimes I have to write things out to come up with an answer. This is one of those moments.

The way I look at it, there are four tough remaining games and two should-win contests. The games Baltimore has absolutely no excuse losing are against Jacksonville and Houston.

The four tough games left are against the Saints, Chargers, Dolphins and Browns. (It still feels weird referring to the Browns as a tough team. No offense Browns fans, just saying.)

The Saints and Chargers are the next two games. Both have strong offenses but beatable defenses. It will be on Joe Flacco and the Ravens' attack to step up in games that should go a long way toward the playoff race. The Dolphins may have the NFL's top defense at the moment. This group has stepped up in a big way over the last month. But the offense is still hit or miss. The Ravens can afford to go 2-1 in these games with Houston and Jacksonville on the schedule, all things considered. If they go 1-2, or even 0-3, in these three games, trouble could be ahead. And that brings me to what I believe the answer to be.

The Browns game in Week 17 is the most important game left. If the trend of each AFC North team being right with each other continues for the remainder of the season, in up-and-down fashion, then this game could wind up deciding the division champ. The Ravens and Browns played a close game in the first month of the season, with Baltimore squeaking out a 23-21 win on the road. This time, the Ravens will get the Browns at home.

Of course, if the Ravens win their next five games then the Browns game won't be that important since they'd be in the playoffs most certainly. But given how the season has shaped out, this final game could have many postseason implications on the line.


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