Ravens NFL Playoff Picture: Baltimore can’t get too comfortable as the No. 2 seed

Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens are breathing rarefied air as the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoff picture with an impressive 6-2 record through nine weeks.

Pride and confidence are fine traits to have as a Super Bowl contender, but complacency will wipe out many playoff hopefuls. The Ravens can’t take anything for granted in this next crucial stretch of the season.

Currently, they sit at the top of the AFC North and have automatically clinched a playoff berth.

Here’s what the AFC playoff picture looks like after Week 9:

  1. Tennessee Titans (7-2)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
  3. Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)
  4. Buffalo Bills (5-3)
  5. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
  7. New England Patriots (5-4)

IN THE HUNT: 8. Kansas City Chiefs (5-4), 9. Cleveland Browns (5-4), 10. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4), 11. Denver Broncos (5-4)

If anything, the playoff picture shows just how important Baltimore’s win against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9 was — one measly win separates them from the last-place Bengals.

But compared to their division rivals, or any other AFC rivals for that matter, the Ravens have looked like one of the most consistent teams and well-balanced rosters so far this season.

Aside from a nasty opening loss to the Raiders, Baltimore came up big against those who many thought would be Super Bowl favorites, the Chiefs and the Chargers.

Will the Baltimore Ravens hold onto their narrow lead in the AFC North?

It goes without saying that the Ravens’ inter-division matchups will decide their ultimate playoff seeding. Baltimore still has to play the Browns and Steelers twice each, as well as the Bengals, who they lost to in Week 7.

Head coach John Harbaugh should have his sights set on topping the division, and as it stands, his team would currently face the very beatable No. 7 seed, the New England Patriots.

Primed for a deep playoff run, Baltimore could eventually meet the Bills or the Chargers in the AFC Championship Game, both of which would be tantalizing matchups.

If they face the Bills, they will be seeking revenge against Josh Allen and Buffalo who knocked them out last year in a 17-3 divisional-round playoff game.

If they face the Chargers, it will be Los Angeles instead looking for a bit of payback after Baltimore miraculously held Justin Herbert to just one score in Week 6.

This is all, of course, the product of wishful, optimistic thinking. Baltimore needs to win their division first, and that means taking care of business against the Chicago Bears in Week 10.

And please, no more overtime or late game thrillers. Lamar Jackson has already proven he can dig Baltimore out of holes, so the Ravens shouldn’t be handing him the shovel every week.

Next. 3 players who led the Ravens to victory over the Vikings in Week 9. dark

The Ravens’ postseason future hangs less precariously than others, but the number one rule for the rest of the season: Don’t get cocky.