For what seems like the past couple of weeks, all we've heard from around the media both in Baltimore and nationally, is that the Baltimore Ravens will make the playoffs. Talking playoff matchups for the Ravens, how dangerous they could be, and the odds that they will get in on Sunday, etc.
Never tell me the odds because the Ravens simply haven't earned their spot in the playoffs. Baltimore has been getting something that, quite frankly, they don't handle well, attention from pundits. Whenever the Ravens start getting some buzz, they proceed to get embarrassed, and Sunday could be no different.
Baltimore's road to the postseason is not that much of a sure thing as everybody believes. Their playoff hopes rest on three games, all of them starting at 4:25 pm ET. Baltimore has their own game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Buffalo Bills take on the Miami Dolphins in South Beach, and the Tennessee Titans return home to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Baltimore would need the Bills or Titans to lose to get them in the postseason, but that seems doubtful. The Bills are playing a Dolphins team that has packed it in and ready to head to the golf courses in Florida. The Titans and Jaguars is the most interesting of the two, as Jacksonville is locked in on the #3 seed no matter what happens after losing to the San Francisco 49ers last week. Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone says he plans on playing the starters, but they are a young team that really has nothing to play for, and are looking forward to a huge home playoff game next week. The question is how long will Marrone play his starters? Not to mention, Tennessee is entering this must-win game at home having already beaten their division rivals earlier this season.
In Baltimore, the Ravens are playing a Bengals team that has nothing to lose, and are playing for their head coach Marvin Lewis. They just beat the Detroit Lions last week and they know how to beat the Ravens. Cincinnati has had Baltimore's number over the years and it wasn't too long ago back in 2013, that the Bengals eliminated the Ravens in a Week 17 matchup. The Ravens must be prepared on Sunday, because Cincinnati is going to throw the kitchen sink at them
No matter what the pundits are saying, Sunday isn't a sure thing. Talks of a wild-card game next week is over the top, and it goes back to the 2000 season when head coach Brian Billick said the Ravens haven't earned the right to say the "P" word. It's a similar situation now, and the Ravens can earn the right to use it if they can pull out a win against a tough division rival that knows them all too well.