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Baltimore Ravens Week 11 rooting guide: Best outcomes for AFC playoff race

We’re in far enough to get this going

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the Ravens winning on Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals, they (and we) get to kick back this Sunday and enjoy the rest of the NFL in Week 11. But that doesn’t mean Ravens fans don’t have something to cheer for, which is why I have below an entire rooting guide for the boost to the Ravens playoff chances and seeding.

Current AFC playoff standings

  1. Kansas City Chiefs 7-2
  2. Baltimore Ravens 8-3
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars 6-3
  4. Miami Dolphins 6-3
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-3
  6. Cleveland Browns 6-3
  7. Houston Texans 6-3

Most Important Games

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) @ Cleveland Browns (6-3) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Browns

Any time you can root for a Steelers loss, it’s great, but they’re the far more harmful team for the second half of this season. The Browns are now down quarterback Deshaun Watson after suffering a season-ending injury. They will now face a Joe Burrow-less Bengals team next week, too. The rest of their division is a cupcake schedule. While both are a half-game back, the importance of creating separation from the Steelers is absolutely necessary.

Not a single Ravens fan wants to have Week 18 be for the division crown. By then, the Ravens should have it wrapped up, or at least not have it be possible for T.J. Watt and that Pittsburgh defense to have any say in deciding who wins the North.

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)— MNF 8:15 p.m ET — ABC

Root for: Eagles

The Chiefs had the best damn bye week a team could ask for in Week 10. The Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers and Buffalo Bills all lost. While they rested up, the conference tripped over themselves and helped them tighten up on the No. 1 seed. But, they’re going toe-to-toe with the Eagles on Monday Night Football and this is where a loss for the Chiefs could help keep the Ravens ever-closer to the conference crown.

Las Vegas Raiders (5-5) @ Miami Dolphins (6-3)— 1 p.m. ETCBS

Root for: Raiders

Personally, I just want to root for the Raiders because of the entertainment of seeing the team post-Josh McDaniels be so happy. But, them further knocking down the Dolphins would benefit Baltimore for playoff seeding.

Tennessee Titans (3-6) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Titans

The Jaguars are currently the No. 3 seed and lead the AFC South. The loss to the three-win Titans helps the Ravens gain further ground in the conference.

New York Jets (4-5) @ Buffalo Bills (5-5) — 4:25 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Jets

I don’t want any part of an Aaron Rodgers return saga. It makes me roll my eyes each time I see him shit-talking on PMS. But, if the Bills are 5-6 and the Jets are 5-5, that’s beneficial for Baltimore.

Arizona Cardinals (2-8) @ Houston Texans (5-4) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Cardinals

NFC over AFC. Especially when that AFC team is ripping off big-time wins to make a playoff bid with a rookie quarterback vying for the league MVP award. Get those Texans back to what the Ravens made them look like in Week 1.

Other Games

Los Angeles Chargers (4-5) @ Green Bay Packers — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Packers

Honestly, I half-considered writing Chargers because it feels like Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley can’t seem to get his team together and that’s I’d not like the Chargers to solve that puzzle. But, rooting for strictly playoff contention and seeding reasons, we go NFC over AFC.

Minnesota Vikings (6-4) @ Denver Broncos — SNF 8:20 p.m. — NBC

Root for: Vikings

Congratulations! You get to root for one of the most heartwarming stories in football this year: The Joshua Dobbs story. NFC > AFC.

AFC North Standings

If all breaks this way, here’s what the divisional standings look like.

  1. Ravens 8-3
  2. Browns 7-3
  3. Steelers 6-4
  4. Bengals 5-5

Baltimore would hold a one-game lead over the Browns and a two-game lead over the Steelers. This would be enormous as both the Bengals seem to be shipwrecked, making it a two-team race.

AFC Playoff Picture

If all results above were to happen

Division Leaders

  1. Ravens 8-3
  2. Chiefs 7-3
  3. Jaguars 6-4 (Wins over Miami on strength of victory)
  4. Dolphins 6-4

Wild Card

  1. Browns 7-3
  2. Steelers 6-4
  3. Raiders 6-5

Monday Night could see the Ravens be the No. 1 seed. A team that’s been so dominant has earned its place to be in contention for the top spot in the conference, even after the pitiful losses they’ve had throughout the course of the first 10 weeks.

Give the Ravens credit. They’re looking not just like a playoff contender, but a top-seeded club.