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Games That Will Impact Ravens

Posted Dec 28, 2013

The Ravens playoff hopes could hinge on the outcome of these games.


Head Coach John Harbaugh made it clear Friday that he doesn’t plan to do any scoreboard watching Sunday during his team’s game against the Bengals.

“What I care about and what our guys care about is winning the game,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what we will do. We will go out there and put everything into it to win that game. And we plan on winning the game, by any means necessary. After that, it’s out of our control.”

Harbaugh and the Ravens have all their attention on the Bengals, but for the Ravens fans watching from home, they will likely have a close eye on the other games taking place around the league.

Here’s a look at the other games and what they mean for the Ravens:

Jets (7-8) at Dolphins (8-7), 1 p.m.

The Ravens are counting on their old coach Rex Ryan to pull off the upset here. The Jets have won just one game on the road all season, but this week they could be playing to save Ryan’s job. Ryan is on the hot seat after missing the playoffs again this year, and a win on Sunday could go a long way in keeping him around for 2014. Beating the Dolphins will be no easy task, as Miami beat the Jets 23-3 in New York earlier this season.  A loss by Miami, combined with a Ravens victory, would give Baltimore the AFC’s final playoff spot. Also, if the Ravens and Dolphins both lose, that could keep the Ravens alive for the No. 6 seed.

Chiefs (11-4) vs. Chargers (8-7), 4:25 p.m.

The Chargers have climbed back into the playoff race with a strong second half of the season, and they could be in a position to spoil the Ravens’ season. Kansas City has already locked up the AFC’s fifth spot, and the Chiefs plan on resting some of their starters. Since Kansas City will rest players, the Chargers could have a much easier road to victory than the Dolphins or Ravens. However, the other consideration is that the Chargers could be eliminated from playoff contention before they even take the field. If the Ravens or Dolphins win their 1 p.m. games, the Chargers will not have a shot at the postseason. In that scenario, they could end up faltering because they have nothing to play for. If the Dolphins and Ravens both win, and the Chargers lose in the late afternoon game, the Ravens are heading back to the playoffs.

Browns (4-11) at Steelers (7-8), 1 p.m.
It’s hard to believe after they started the year 0-4, but the Steelers still have an outside chance at the playoffs. If the Ravens, Dolphins and Chargers all lose, then the Steelers would advance to the playoffs with a win over the Browns. The Steelers won’t know the fate of the other games because they play at 1 p.m., so they will take a similar approach as the Ravens and just try to put themselves in the best situation with a victory. The Steelers don’t have a chance to catch the Ravens if both teams win, but Pittsburgh would be the team to get to the postseason if all four wild-card contenders finish the year with 8-8 records.

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