'Momentum Building' for Bills-Bengals Game to be Canceled; Ravens Couldn't Win AFC North in That Scenario
Momentum is building for not resuming Monday night's game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
If that ends up being the NFL's decision, the Bengals would be the AFC North champions and playoff seeding would be the only thing at stake in Sunday's game between the Ravens and Bengals in Cincinnati.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport also reported that the league ruling the Bengals-Bills game a tie or no contest appears to be the most likely scenario. Rapoport said another option being considered, but is less likely, would be to play the Bengals-Bills game in Week 19, move the start of the playoffs back a week, and eliminate the bye week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
Rapoport said he expects the league to make an announcement soon, but "we don't know when soon actually is."
The Ravens are currently the sixth seed in the AFC. Their only path to the division title would be to win on Sunday, followed by the Bengals losing to the Bills if that game is resumed. If the division title is already determined before the Ravens take the field, they would move up to the fifth seed if they defeat the Bengals and the Los Angeles Chargers lose to the Denver Broncos.
The difference between being the fifth seed and the sixth seed is significant. The fifth seed would play at the AFC South winner (either the Jacksonville Jaguars or Tennessee Titans) in the wild-card round, while the sixth seed would play at the No. 3 seed, which would be either the Bills or Bengals.
The Bengals would move from the third seed to the second seed with a win over the Ravens and a Bills loss to the New England Patriots. So both teams have something at stake Sunday, regardless of the NFL's decision.
Still, if the AFC North title is not at stake Sunday, it could impact how much the Ravens play their starters.
"Our job is to go win the football game, and really to do that, we need to control the process, which is play the best football that we can," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday.
Lamar Jackson's Single-Season Rushing Record Won't Be Broken This Season
Lamar Jackson's single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback will not be broken this season.
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (hip) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings and will finish with 1,143 yards rushing, 63 shy of the mark Jackson set in 2019.
Fields played in 15 games this season, the same number of games Jackson played in his record-setting campaign (though Jackson also was pulled from multiple games early with the Ravens winning in blowouts).
There have only been four 1,000 yard-rushing seasons by quarterbacks in NFL history. Michael Vick rushed for 1,039 yards in 2006, and Jackson had 1,005 yards in 2020.
Former Ravens WRs Not Among Finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023
Former Ravens wide receivers Steve Smith Sr. and Anquan Boldin were not among the 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2023. They were semifinalists for the second year in a row.
Former Ravens return specialist/wide receiver Devin Hester and offensive tackle Willie Anderson were on the list of finalists. Both players spent the final year of their careers in Baltimore.