Baltimore Ravens won but it was not a good Sunday for them
The Baltimore Ravens controlled what they could control on Sunday. They got a much needed win against the Buccaneers. Their playoff path didn’t get easier, it just got harder:
The New England Patriots aren’t in the habit of doing the Baltimore Ravens a favor. The Patriots losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers was a bad result for the Ravens. If the Steelers lost, the Ravens would have moved into first place in the AFC North, with the Saints up next for the Steelers. Now the Ravens must win out, and see the Saints beat the Steelers to win the division.
The wild card has taken turns that don’t favor the purple and black. If either the Titans or Colts win out, the Ravens would need 10 wins to get the sixth seed in the AFC postseason. The Titans and the Colts play each other in the final week of the season. The Ravens either need a lot of help (luck) or they need to control their own destiny.
The Ravens next two games are against the red-hot Los Angeles Chargers and the Cleveland Browns. The Chargers are coming off comeback wins against the Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs and are 11-3. The Chargers are vying for the number one seed in the AFC. The stage is set for an incredibly intense Saturday night spotlight. This may be the most pivotal game of the John Harbaugh era.
The Ravens have gone through most of this season without a signature win. The best win of the season was against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, but they caught the Steelers at the right time. The Ravens got beaten by the Steelers on the second battle. They fell short against the New Orleans Saints after Justin Tucker’s missed PAT. Baltimore almost beat the Chiefs, but that doesn’t help them in the playoff picture.
Beating the Chargers would be a signature win. It would be validation that they belong in the AFC postseason. It would be an indication that this new look team led by Lamar Jackson is a good one. The Ravens beating the Chargers, and then a tough Browns team, would be earning a playoff ticket rather than hoping for one.
The Ravens control their own destiny. If they get 10 wins they should be in the playoffs. The Chargers might be the best team on their entire schedule and have sneakily become Super Bowl contenders. The Browns are not the bad team they once were, but an energetic team that has found big strides in Baker Mayfield’s first season. The Ravens have a shot to make the playoffs. If they want it, they have to earn it.