The Baltimore Ravens have officially clinched a playoff berth while maintaining their lead in the AFC following their wire-to-wire 23-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday Night Football.
The Week 15 win brings the Ravens record to an AFC-leading, tied-for-best in the NFL 11-3 and keeps them in contention for the No. 1 seed in the conference, home-field advantage throughout the postseason, and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
According to The New York Times model, the Ravens have a 71% chance of finishing the season atop the AFC, thus earning home-field advantage and that bye week.
This win and its aftermath couldn't have come at a better time for everyone involved. Just in case you are not plugged into the nitty-gritty details of the season, there are a lot of storylines to follow after the Ravens defeated the Jaguars on SNF and as the Flock enters its Week 16 matchup.
Baltimore will fly to San Francisco for a Christmas Day game against the 49ers. The Niners lead the NFC with an 11-3 record through Week 15 while the Ravens enter the contest as the leaders of the AFC at the same 11-3 balance this season.
Simply put, the two best teams in American football will meet each other on the most prominent day and at the largest stage of the season to date. Sorry, NBA.
Since head coach John Harbaugh arrived in Baltimore, the Ravens have made the postseason 10 out of a possible 16 seasons with the next one, already clinched, being the 11th time they'll do so. It will be the Ravens' 15th appearance in the playoffs in 28 years of franchise history.
Entering Week 16, only two AFC teams (the Ravens and the 10-4 Miami Dolphins) have won double-digit games this season. Both squads will face off in Week 17 with just two games remaining on the season by then, most probably with the coveted No.1 AFC seed on the line.
As a final note, the results of Week 15 saw the Titans, Jets, and Patriots eliminated from postseason contention in the AFC.
The Browns and the Bengals won their games and are currently second and third in the AFC North trailing the Ravens but still in contention for a wild-card berth.