If the Ravens win their final three games, their playoff chances are all but guaranteed.
Sunday's win over the Dolphins was huge, as just about everything else went their way. The Chargers, Chiefs, Bills and Browns all lost, which means there are only three 8-5 teams at the moment. Though the Steelers defeated the Bengals and thus jumped the Ravens into a playoff spot for the moment, it actually may mean more for the Ravens in the long run in terms of the AFC North division title.
Here's a look at the playoff picture at the moment.
|1. New England Patriots (AFC East leader)||10-3-0||2-1-0|
|2. Denver Broncos (AFC West leader)||10-3-0||4-0-0|
|3. Indianapolis Colts (AFC South leader)||9-4-0||4-0-0|
|4. Cincinnati Bengals (AFC North leader)||8-4-1||2-2-0|
|5. Pittsburgh Steelers (Wild Card)||8-5-0||3-2-0|
|6. San Diego Chargers (Wild Card)||8-5-0||2-2-0|
|7. Baltimore Ravens||8-5-0||2-3-0|
|8. Houston Texans||7-6-0||3-1-0|
|9. Miami Dolphins||7-6-0||3-1-0|
|10. Kansas City Chiefs||7-6-0||1-3-0|
|11. Buffalo Bills||7-6-0||3-2-0|
|12. Cleveland Browns||7-6-0||2-2-0|
|13. New York Jets||2-11-0||0-4-0|
|14. Tennessee Titans||2-11-0||1-3-0|
|15. Oakland Raiders||2-11-0||1-3-0|
|16. Jacksonville Jaguars||2-11-0||0-4-0|
Out of the three 8-5 teams, the Chargers have the most difficult remaining schedule. It will be a tough task for San Diego to defeat Denver, San Francisco and Kansas City in consecutive weeks.
The Steelers' slate is easier with the Falcons, Chiefs and Bengals remaining. However, the Steelers have had issues with NFC South teams for whatever reason, dropping games to both the Buccaneers and Saints. So that Falcons game shouldn't be considered a guaranteed win for Pittsburgh.
The Ravens have the easiest trio of games left, with the Jaguars, Texans and Browns on deck. The Browns could end up being the toughest of the three, depending on how Johnny Manziel does as a starter.
But if the Ravens win all three, Pittsburgh drops one of their games and Cincinnati loses to either Cleveland, Denver or Pittsburgh (which if a loss to Pittsburgh happens, the Steelers would need to lose to Atlanta or Kansas City), you're looking at an AFC North champion in Baltimore.
The win over Miami was crucial, especially after losing to San Diego in heartbreaking fashion the week before. Now it's a matter of the Ravens taking care of business and hoping everything else falls into place.