Today is a classic NFL day. 2 teams play every year on this day at home, The Cowboys(who stole the tradition from the Lions when they proclaimed themselves Americas Team) and the Lions. The NFL usually throws a third team in the mix so they can fill an entire day of NFL action. one noon game, one 4 PM game and one primetime game. This year, for the Ravens, the 4 PM game is completely irrelevent, but the noon and primetime games featuring the Texans @ Lions and the Patriots @ Jets couldnt be more important.
Right now the Texans and Patriots are 1st and 3rd in the AFC standings. The Texans lead the Ravens by 1 game(with a head to head tie breaker) and the Patriots trail the Ravens by one game(with the Ravens owning a head to head tie breaker). Because of the tiebreaker situation, the Ravens trail the Texans by effectively 2 games and the Patriots trail the Ravens by the same margin.
If the Texans were to lose in Detroit, the Ravens would move into a first play tie if they beat the Chargers sunday. They would still need to have one more win than the Texans do for the rest of the season to get first place, but the amount of luck they need to get the first seed goes down pretty dramatically. The Ravens could also mover much closer to locking up a first round bye and the second overall seed if they get a Patriot loss and a Ravens win on Sunday. a loss by the Patriots would drop them to 7-4 while a win would raise the Ravens to 9-2. that is a two game lead with a tie breaker making it effectively a three game lead. at that point the Ravens would have to lose 3 of their remaining 4 games to not get a first round bye(unless of course the Broncos win out, including beating the Ravens and the Ravens lose one additional game which would force a tiebreaker).
The Ravens have to win Sunday, but getting some key losses here on Thanksgiving would really give the Ravens something to be thankful for.