The Ravens have won two straight games and are coming off an emotional Thanksgiving victory over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Now they are heavy favorites against the Minnesota Vikings who have won just three games all year.
After back-to-back wins, Ravens players and coaches have faced a common question this week:
Are they concerned about a letdown against the Vikings?
“I don’t think there is any chance of that,” quarterback
The Ravens (6-6) currently control their destiny in the playoff race and are sitting at the No. 6 seed in the AFC. But they have a razor thin margin for error.
The Miami Dolphins have the same record and there are four teams (Steelers, Chargers, Titans and Jets) just one game behind in the wild-card race. Baltimore also isn’t out of the division race yet either, as the Bengals hold a two-game edge with a Week 17 matchup against the Ravens looming.
The Ravens can’t afford to lose any ground.
“We’re a 6-6 football team fighting for a playoff spot, and we need to win the rest of them, and it starts with this one right here,” Flacco said.
Under Head Coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens have consistently performed well against teams with losing records. Since 2008, the Ravens are 31-9 against teams with losing records at the time the Ravens played them.
They typically win the games they are expected to win, and that has been an important piece of making the playoffs five straight years.
“I don’t believe our team has ever really looked at things like that,” Harbaugh said. “To me, we have to bring our ‘A’ game every single week in the National Football League.”
While the Vikings have struggled this year, the Ravens have focused this week on the playmakers they do have. The NFL’s leading rusher Adrian Peterson has dominated the discussion, and the Ravens have stressed that the Vikings are better than their record indicates. The Vikings are even coming off a victory against a Bears team that beat the Ravens just two weeks ago.
“All you have to do is look at the tape,” Harbaugh said. “[The Vikings have] won a number of very close games. They’re very well-coached. And it’s nothing to show our guys the tape for them to see what a challenge we have in front of us.”
After Minnesota, the Ravens finish the season with games against three straight playoff contenders in the Lions, Patriots and Bengals. For the Ravens to control their playoff fate entering that three-game stretch, they know they can’t take Minnesota for granted.
“We understand where we are, we understand what’s at stake, we understand what’s at stake for us,” Harbaugh said. “There is no way in the world that those [relaxed] thoughts would ever, ever be anywhere near us.”