Ravens Control Own Playoff Destiny After Big Sunday

Pernell McPhee

Getty Pernell McPhee celebrates a big play.

The Baltimore Ravens entered Week 16 with tons of pressure on them, but with their backs against the wall, they delivered in a major way and got some major help.

First, Baltimore gutted out a huge win over the New York Giants at home 27-13 fueled by more solid offense and stout defense. That victory helped them in position to get some major help from the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets, who downed the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns respectively.

As a result, the Ravens, who were left for dead a few weeks ago in the playoff race, have now won their way back into the race and at the moment occupy the six seed. Now, if the Ravens win next weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals, they’re in.

It is an impressive turn for a team which looked as if they were dead around Thanksgiving following a COVID-19 scare, but that only seems to have galvanized them. Baltimore has made use of a favorable schedule, but they have also responded with big wins in addition to getting some help.

Next weekend, they can punch their own ticket, which has to be an exciting and liberating feeling for a team that had to be concerned about missing the playoffs entirely only a month ago.

AFC North Strong During 2020

It’s been an up and down year for the Ravens this season in the conference. They’ve swept Cleveland with a couple of big performances, but against Pittsburgh, Baltimore was narrowly defeated 28-24 and 19-15. The games were close, hard hitting and simply epic battles between the sides that mirrors plenty of what’s happened in the rivalry lately. Last season, the Ravens swept the Steelers with some close wins en-route to the AFC North title. This season, the shoe was on the other foot both times. Lately, the Steelers have struggled, but ironically, their comeback helped put the Ravens in the position to be playoff bound.

Now, the only thing the Ravens will have to watch out for? A resurgent Bengals team, who are playing solid football and would love nothing more to play spoiler to a team in their own division to help and serve notice.

Ravens Playoff Hopes Boosted With Late Surge

Baltimore’s dominating work the last few weeks has helped put them in position for a playoff birth, even as they have managed to get help elsewhere to help boost them over the finish line. While the Ravens were in position to scoreboard watch and depend on others, it’s now important for them to remember they control their own destiny. Win and they’re in, but obviously, the Ravens would take getting in any way they could at this point in time.

The bottom line? This season, the AFC is loaded, and it’s been an absolute battle for everyone to get to the postseason. There’s a long way to go for the Ravens still, but their hopes are quite simple. A few weeks ago, it may have been inconceivable to think they could win their way in, but the late season domination has helped get a team with Super Bowl aspirations back where they need to be.

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