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Early games force Ravens to win tonight, or lose significant ground in conference and division standings

Ravens control their destiny, but only if they keep stacking wins

NFL: Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

With the early games complete, the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) have regained an opportunity to lead the AFC as the battle for the bye week continues.

Tennessee Titans Lose in New England

The No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans (8-4), who are dealing with significant injury issues—even by Ravens’ standards, traveled to New England in their date with Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots (8-4). They did so with running back Derrick Henry and wide receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones on injured reserve. This resulted in the Patriots, who were already on a five-game win streak, to keep their streak alive with a 36-13 win.

This was a semi-good for the Ravens in that they now have a chance to claim the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The problem, however, is that the Patriots have made significant adjustments from the seasons’ beginning and are now scorching hot. For the Ravens’ sake, hopefully this is a premature peak and they cool off.

Bengals Bludgeon the Steelers

For the second time this season, the Bengals have thrashed a divisional rival. Today, they pummeled the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1) 41-17. Bengals running back Joe Mixon carved up the Steelers defensive line to a tune of 165 yards and two rushing touchdowns on 28 carries, most of which was done in the first half.

This outcome was not what the Ravens wanted, as it leaves little room for error in the division, and therefore, their conference standings.


Tonight’s Possible Outcomes

A Ravens victory leaves the team standing atop the AFC once more. It’s a familiar sight, as they’ve been on it previously this season, and have been in contention for it all year. The Patriots, who defeated the Titans, become the No. 2 team.

A Ravens’ loss, after reading how little the standings change from a win, demonstrate the closeness of the AFC. Baltimore plummets to the No. 6 seed. The Browns manage to squeeze into the race as the No. 7 seed, with the Bengals looking down upon them both at the top of the division. However, they’re the No. 3 seed, with the Patriots becoming the No. 1 team in the AFC and the Titans right below them.

Though the Ravens are in control of their own destiny, the pressure is still on. The division is an active warzone, with three teams bosting a winning record. The Patriots are surging and the Bills are still a good team, at least, you have to assume as much. The AFC West is in disarray but the Chiefs, much like the Patriots, have found their footing and the rest of the league didn’t take them out when they had the chance, allowing them to both lead their division with the conclusion of the regular season rapidly approaching.