The Ravens players and coaches have a rare opportunity this weekend to sit back on the couch and flip on the television for a full slate of NFL games.
With the Ravens on a bye, they can take in the weekend as a fan and watch the other teams around the league duke it out.
Here’s a look at some of this weekend’s games and how it could affect the Ravens:
Jets vs. Bengals, CBS, 4:25 p.m.
The Jets and Bengals are both coming off Week 7 victories and looking to continue their pursuit of a playoff berth. The Bengals (5-2) have a two-game advantage over the Ravens in the AFC North, and the Jets (4-3) are a game up in the wild-card race.
Who To Root For: The Ravens benefit either way in this game. A win by the Jets shrinks the Bengals’ lead in the AFC North, and the Ravens’ first priority is always to win the division. A win by the Bengals would put the Ravens in better position for the wild-card race by knocking back the Jets.
Steelers vs. Raiders. CBS. 4:05 p.m.
The Steelers (2-4) have a chance to tie the Ravens with a 3-4 mark on the season by taking down the Oakland Raiders. A Steelers win would crowd the AFC North race even more for the second half of the year.
Who To Root For: Raiders. Oakland (3-4) can make the Steelers’ playoff hopes awful grim with a win this week.
Browns vs. Chiefs, CBS, 1:00 p.m.
The Browns (2-5) are struggling again after back-to-back wins earlier this season. Now they have to go up against Kansas City (7-0), the only undefeated team left in the NFL. Cleveland made a change at quarterback this week by naming veteran Jason Campbell the starter over Brandon Weeden, so the Browns offense will have one week to adjust to Campbell before taking on the Ravens in Week 9.
Who To Root For: Chiefs. While the Browns do not appear to be a contender for the division crown, knocking them back in the race could help the Ravens.
Dolphins vs. Patriots, CBS, 1:00 p.m.
Patriots (5-2) and Dolphins (3-3) are both coming off losses in Week 7, and they are in the hunt for the AFC East title. The Patriots sit at the top of the division with a two-game lead over the Dolphins, and this game could have significant playoff implications down the stretch. The Dolphins have a chance to prove they are legitimate contenders for a playoff spot, and the Patriots are trying to get on track after a loss to the Jets.
Who To Root For: Patriots. It almost seems counter intuitive for Ravens fans to root for the Patriots, but a win by the Patriots here would move the Dolphins back in the wild-card race. The Dolphins appear to be one of the Ravens’ biggest challengers for a wild-card spot, and a loss to New England could end up benefitting the Ravens down the stretch.