First off, I’d like to say sorry for the lack of posts over the past what has it been, a week? I’m out of the country, the internet connection has been terrible and I haven’t been at a computer very often. Being 5 hours ahead in England really puts you out of touch with the NFL, and at a huge disadvantage of watching your team’s biggest game of the season. I managed to catch a few streams, and followed the rest on GameTracker. It seemed like they were never really in the game. If not for Ray Rice, the offense would have been parked in one spot the whole game. And the way the game ended, with a penalty negating an incredible play, and Flacco turning the ball over on the final drive, were so eerily similar to almost every loss this season. Very disappointing result in the end, and penalties again killed the team, but the Ravens were again beneficiaries of helpful losses in terms of the playoff picture.
As it stands now, if the Ravens win next week, they are in. Even though if the season ended right now, the Jets are the 6th seed and the Ravens are out, if the Ravens win, because of common opponents and head-to-head, they are in. They beat the Broncos, so if they both finish 9-7, conference record doesn’t matter, the Ravens win that. If the Jets win, the Ravens have the better record against common opponents, so they are the 5th seed. Honestly, this schedule couldn’t have benefited the Ravens more based on how this season has turned out. Lose their games at the same time other teams lose, and then get fairly easy games at the end of the year, and a fairly easy game to finish the year vs Oakland.
Another odd thing this season is the amount of tiebreakers that will be used, and are being used for this week’s temporary seeding (can you call it that?). Jacksonville has the #5 seed because of strength of victory, aka margin of victory, the fourth tiebreaker. If all three teams win, seeding will be decided through common opponents, the third tiebreaker. So many different factors have chipped in to make the Ravens be serious playoff contenders after a mediocre season, and these tiebreakers sure are helping them out.