Just when we thought the Baltimore Ravens were out, they pull us back in.
A somewhat unexpected 44-20 Week 13 win over Detroit included strong play in all five phases of the game. Franchise quarterback Joe Flacco produced arguably his best game since December 4th, 2016. And the opportunistic defense generated three more takeaways, pushing their league leading total to 32 on the season.
After recording their third consecutive victory and seventh of the season, FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions model gives the Ravens an 82-percent chance to earn a postseason berth. Their competition includes both eight win AFC South teams, the Jaguars and Titans are currently listed at 97-percent and 92-percent to make the playoffs, respectively. The other AFC teams vying for the postseason are the Chiefs at 62-percent and the Chargers at 29-percent. The Raiders, Bills and Bengals are long shots with just a 36-percent chance combined that one of the three teams will be playing on wildcard weekend.
Perhaps more encouraging than simply increasing the odds of making it into the dance was an offensive display that gives hope the Ravens could go on a run in January. Flacco showed decision making and accuracy that has been missing for most of the season with an efficient 269-yard, two touchdown game. Tailback Alex Collins posted 75-yards and two more scores on a 5-yard per carry average. And the offense converted 42-percent on third down as well as 80-percent in the red zone.
While the Lions defense has struggled this season, the Ravens offense was much better on Sunday than it was last Monday night against an also below average Texans defense. Furthermore, the playcalling on both sides of the ball was creative and aggressive, proving Baltimore does have the ability to turn it up a notch when necessary. Overall, the Week 13 win was a much needed encouraging result from the Ravens that should breathe life into an apathetic fanbase.
How far will the Ravens go this season?
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Miss the playoffs
Lose in the wildcard round
Lose in the divisional round
Lose in the conference championship game
Make it to the Super Bowl