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Baltimore Ravens Week 13 rooting guide: Best outcomes for AFC playoff race

The Ravens, like you, will watch from home and hope the AFC choke things away.

NFL: NOV 16 Bengals at Ravens Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Ravens are enjoying a nice weekend of rest after 12-straight games; they currently hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC. However, this could be a week of change depending upon the outcomes of Sunday and Monday.

Current AFC playoff standings

  1. Baltimore Ravens 9-3
  2. Kansas City Chiefs 8-3
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-3
  4. Miami Dolphins 8-3
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-4
  6. Cleveland Browns 7-4
  7. Indianapolis Colts 6-5

Most Important Games

Miami Dolphins (8-3) @ Washington Commanders (4-8) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Commanders

The Ravens sit atop the AFC, but a Dolphins win results in the Ravens being dropped down a peg due to conference tiebreakers. The head-to-head tiebreaker will ultimately be the deciding factor, but a loss here would give the Ravens a great benefit in the long run if they want the No. 1 seed.

Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) @ Green Bay Packers (5-6) — 8:20 p.m ET — NBC

Root for: Packers

If the Chiefs win, they’re the No. 1 seed in the AFC, regardless of all other outcomes. They hold the tiebreaker for now based on best win percentage in the conference. A Packers win here would go a long way.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-6) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) — MNF 8:15 p.m. ET — ABC

Root for: Bengals

A Bengals win would be the perfect storm for the Ravens. It keeps the Bengals from continuing their tank for a better draft pick while also delivering the Jaguars a loss, and an AFC loss at that. Though the Ravens and Jaguars will eventually have a head-to-head tiebreaker to worry about, the Ravens would love to keep a higher-valued seed and not need the tiebreaker if all goes according to plan.

Arizona Cardinals (2-10) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Cardinals

Please, somebody, knock these Steelers down a peg. This is getting ridiculous. Then again, it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals, who are vying for the top pick in the 2024 NFL draft, will be able to steal a victory. Nonetheless, root for the birds!

Cleveland Browns (7-4) @ Los Angeles Rams (5-6) — 4:25 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Rams

Both the Browns and Steelers are chasing the Ravens’ heels. The slightest bit of breathing room in the AFC North would be wonderful. It may suck to root against Joe Flacco, I know, but I don’t think anybody wants a part of that defense with a chance of January Joe leading their offense.

Other Games

Indianapolis Colts (6-5) @ Tennessee Titans (4-7) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Colts?

If the Colts win, they get to 7-5 and will be the No. 7 seed over the Houston Texans. I’m willing to guess the Ravens (and the fans) would love to see the Colts in the playoffs over the Texans (who they hold the tiebreaker over) both due to the Texans resurgence with quarterback C.J. Stroud and desperate for a Round 2 against Indy. But, if you don’t want the Colts and want to see Houston, go Titans.

Denver Broncos (6-5) @ Houston Texans (6-5) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Broncos?

This is another dealers choice. The Broncos are on the hottest of hot streaks, winning five straight to get back to a game over .500. Another one like that and they’re in the playoff picture, but still on the outside looking in if the Colts win. It kicks the Texans further down and maybe the Broncos finally solved their woes in defeating the Chiefs for a postseason matchup.

AFC North Standings

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

  1. Ravens 9-3
  2. Steelers: 7-5
  3. Browns 7-5
  4. Bengals 6-5

Exiting the bye week with a two-game lead over the division? Not much could be sweeter.

AFC Playoff Picture

If all results above were to happen

Division Leaders

  1. Ravens 9-3
  2. Chiefs 7-4 (Wins tie break over Miami and Jacksonville based on head-to-head sweep.
  3. Dolphins 8-3 (Wins tie break over Jacksonville based on best win percentage in conference games.)
  4. Jaguars 8-4

Wild Card

  1. Steelers 7-5 (Wins tie break over Indianapolis based on best win percentage in common games. Wins tie break over Denver based on best win percentage in conference games. Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Cleveland (Pittsburgh wins tie break over Cleveland based on best win percentage in division games)
  2. Browns 7-5
  3. Colts 7-5

Hard to see an upset here as all five of the most important games feature their AFC-chasing foes play against sub-.500 squads. Now’s the time to root for the Football Gods, Team Chaos, The Underdogs and the phrase “Any Given Sunday.”