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AFC Playoff Picture: Baltimore Ravens have the opportunity spoil Cincinnati Bengals chances at a 1st round bye

The Baltimore Ravens are ready to ruin another division rivals postseason status in week 17 as they face the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens already put a dent in the Pittsburgh Steelers playoff chances by sweeping them this year. The Ravens have every intention of closing out the 2015 season on a high note and putting a dent into the Cincinnati Bengals playoff position would certainly feel good for Baltimore.

As of right now, the Bengals have clinched the AFC North division title. However, the Bengals have the opportunity to gain a first round bye. Here is what needs to happen for the Bengals to obtain that goal:

  • Bengals clinch a first round bye with a win against the Ravens and a Denver Broncos loss to the San Diego Chargers
  • Bengals clinch a first round bye with a Broncos loss to the Chargers and a Kansas City Chiefs win against the Oakland Raiders
  • Bengals clinch a first round by with a tie against the Ravens and a Broncos loss to the Chargers

Right now, Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron has a wrist sprain injury which occurred on the final play against the Broncos on Monday night football in week 16 when he fumbled. His status for the week 17 matchup against the Ravens is not clear.

Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton will not play against the Ravens as he is still recovering from a thumb injury he suffered against the Steelers in week 14. Dalton is still up in the air as to whether or not he will play in the playoffs at all.

So all in all, if McCarron can't go against the Ravens and Dalton obviously isn't going to, that means that third string quarterback Keith Wenning who was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Ravens in the  2014 NFL draft,  could be picked to go against his former team in his first ever NFL start.

The Ravens don't care about what the Bengals are going through with their injuries because the Ravens have 20 players on injured reserve as we speak. Combine that with the fact that the Ravens have lost five out of the last six games against the Bengals and the Ravens have plenty of reasons to knock off their AFC North rival.

If the Ravens win on the road against the Bengals this Sunday, that means that the Ravens would have swept the AFC North division on the road with a 3-0 record. If someone told that to a Ravens fan before the season started, the Ravens fan probably would have though that the Ravens won the division and are fighting for a first round bye. They wouldn't have expected this team to finish with a 6-10 record in that scenario.