The Ravens had a chance to win the No. 1 seed in the AFC on Sunday with a win against the Cleveland Browns. With a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, all things were trending in such direction. But a pick-six on a tipped ball from Lamar Jackson and a few defensive failures culminated in a 33-31 loss.
Fortunately, the Ravens haven’t plummeted far in the playoff picture; they simply lost breathing room they’d hope to generate over the division and conference. They’re the No. 2 seed after the Jacksonville Jaguars loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
AFC Standings (pre-SNF)
1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
2. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
3t*. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3*)
3t*. Miami Dolphins (6-3*)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3, win over CLE)
6. Cleveland Browns (6-3, loss to PIT)
7+. Houston Texans (5-4+, 3-2 AFC)
8+. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4+, 1-4 AFC, win over BUF)
9+. Buffalo Bills (5-4+, 2-3 AFC, loss to CIN) MNF
10. Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
11. New York Jets (4-4) SNF
12. Los Angeles Chargers (4-5, win over LV)
13. Las Vegas Raiders (4-5, loss to LAC) SNF
14. Denver Broncos (3-5) MNF
15. Tennessee Titans (3-6)
16. New England Patriots (2-8)
* Jacksonville and Miami have identical Conference records.
+ Houston, Cincinnati, and Buffalo are in a three-way tie. The first tiebreaker is AFC record, which the Texans win. Then Cincinnati has a head-to-head win over Buffalo.
If the season were to end tonight, the Ravens would be facing the red-hot Texans. They’ve come far from being the Ravens’ punching bag in Week 1. Now, rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud is firmly in the MVP conversation after having defeated the Bengals, knocking them to 5-4 and winning the tiebreaker over the Bengals in the playoff race.
The win by the Texans knocked the Bengals out of the current playoff seeding with their conference record and tiebreaker putting the Bengals at No. 8. They are the only AFC North team currently on the outside looking in as the Steelers are 6-3, along with the Browns.