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AFC Playoff Picture: How the Baltimore Ravens can clinch their spot this weekend

The Ravens can ensure a postseason spot this weekend.

Syndication: The Record Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Baltimore Ravens sit fifth in the AFC Playoff Picture entering Week 16. With some help, they can clinch their playoff spot this weekend and secure the next step toward their 2022 goals.

Before we get into the scenarios, let’s lay out the current playoff standings so you can see what we’re dealing with.

AFC Playoff Picture

  1. Buffalo Bills (11-3, win over KC)-x
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3, loss to BUF)-xy
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4)
  4. Tennessee Titans (7-7)
  5. Baltimore Ravens (9-5)
  6. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6, win over MIA)
  7. Miami Dolphins (8-6, loss to LAC)
  8. New England Patriots (7-7, wins over NYJ)
  9. New York Jets (7-7, losses to NEP)
  10. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8, 5-4 AFC)
  11. Las Vegas Raiders (6-8, 5-5 AFC)
  12. Cleveland Browns (6-8, win over PIT, 4-7 AFC)
  13. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8, loss to CLE)
  14. Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1)
  15. Denver Broncos (4-10)
  16. Houston Texans (1-12-1)

Scenario 1: Ravens beat Falcons

If Baltimore wins to get to 10 wins, the path to the playoffs becomes much less complicated. They would go from 99% to >99% chance to make the postseason, but need some help to make it 100% certain.

  • Dolphins loss/tie + Patriots loss/tie


  • Dolphins loss/tie + Jets loss/tie


  • Patriots loss + Jets loss

With both the Patriots and Jets earning their 8th losses, their best record would be 9-8, ensuring that a 10-7 Ravens team would get a spot. Since the Dolphins play the Patriots and Jets over the final two weeks, their loss would ensure that they’d enter that 7-loss club and ensure that either Miami or New England or New York would get to 8 losses (or at least not 10 wins).

Miami plays the Packers on Christmas Day and they have lost three straight. The Jets play Thursday night against the Jaguars, who are also in the playoff hunt. New England faces the Bengals on Saturday. With those three games, a clinching scenario is a very real possibility.

Scenario 2: Ravens tie Falcons

We’ve seen several ties and near-ties in overtime this season, so it’s not crazy! If the Ravens tie, there are lots of ways to ensure other teams will get to 8 losses or 7 losses plus a tie to solidify Baltimore ahead:

  • Patriots loss + Jets loss


  • Patriots loss + Dolphins loss + Jets tie


  • Patriots loss + Dolphins loss + Chargers win


  • Patriots loss + Jets tie + Chargers win


  • Patriots tie + Jets loss + Dolphins loss


  • Patriots tie + Jets tie + Dolphins loss + Chargers win

Note: Los Angeles winning adds them to multiple 9-8 scenarios and creating chaos, allowing the Ravens to make it in three-way and four-way battles.

Scenario 3: Ravens back into postseason

At 9-5, the Ravens don’t even need to win or tie this weekend to clinch a spot if all the teams sitting at 7-7 lose and multiple 6-8 teams fail to pick up a victory.

All of these need to happen for this scenario to play out:

  • Patriots loss +
  • Jets loss +
  • Browns loss/tie +
  • Raiders loss/tie +
  • Titans loss/tie +
  • Chargers win