Even after the Ravens' loss in Cleveland, they still control their own destiny. If Baltimore wins its final three games, it will be the AFC North champion.
The Ravens can also punch their playoff ticket in Week 16, with a little help. They have 10 different scenarios to clinch this weekend.
Baltimore (9-5) would first need to beat or tie the Atlanta Falcons on Christmas Eve at M&T Bank Stadium. Then they would need losses by two of three other wild-card hopefuls, the New England Patriots (7-7), New York Jets (7-7) and/or Miami Dolphins (8-6).
Here are the 10 scenarios:
- BAL win + NE loss/tie + NYJ loss/tie
- BAL win + NE loss/tie + MIA loss/tie
- BAL win + NYJ loss/tie + MIA loss/tie
- BAL tie + NE loss + NYJ loss
- BAL tie + NE loss + NYJ tie + MIA loss
- BAL tie + NE loss + NYJ tie + LAC win
- BAL tie + NE loss + MIA loss + LAC win
- BAL tie + NE tie + NYJ loss + MIA loss
- BAL tie + NE tie + NYJ tie + MIA loss + LAC win
- NE loss + NYJ loss + CLE loss or tie + LV loss or tie + TEN loss or tie + LAC win
The Jets host the Jaguars, who have won two straight over the Titans and Cowboys, on Thursday Night Football. The Patriots host the Cincinnati Bengals, who have won six straight and passed the Ravens in the AFC North title race, at 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The Dolphins, who have lost three straight, host the Packers (5-8) on Christmas.
If the Ravens win and the Jets and Patriots lose, only seven teams (or fewer) will be capable of finishing with 10 or more wins this season. Baltimore will have already met the threshold and seven teams make the playoffs. It seems like 10 will be the magic number.
So if Baltimore gets to 10 wins, and the Jets and Patriots both drop one of their remaining three games, the Ravens will make the playoffs. There are other combinations if the Jets and Patriots both win out, as the Dolphins and Chargers, who both sit at 8-6, could also stumble down the stretch. There are also ways in which Baltimore could get to 10 win and not reach the playoffs.
Jets' remaining schedule:
- vs. Jaguars (6-8)
- at Seahawks (7-7)
- at Dolphins (8-6)
Patriots' remaining schedule:
- vs. Bengals (10-4)
- vs. Dolphins (8-6)
- at Bills (11-3)
Dolphins' remaining schedule:
- vs. Packers (5-8)
- at Patriots (7-7)
- at Jets (7-7)
Ravens' remaining schedule:
- vs. Falcons (5-9)
- vs. Steelers (6-8)
- at Bengals (10-4)
If the Ravens win their next two games, they will at worst play for the AFC North division title in Week 18 in Cincinnati. If the Ravens win their next two and the Bengals lose their next two (at Patriots, vs. Bills), Baltimore will have already locked up the AFC North crown heading into the regular-season finale because it will own the divisional record tiebreaker.
"We're in a real tight chase for our division," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Sunday. "It's us and the Bengals trying to win the division. We want to win this division. So, we're going to put all of our focus and all of our energy into trying to find a way to do that."