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Is Super Bowl Still Within Reach?


The Ravens have lost three in a row in December.

But holding out hope that even a team stumbling down the stretch can still win the Super Bowl isn't just a pie-in-the-sky notion. It's recent history.

Last year, the New York Giants lost five of six games heading into Week 16. A 23-10 loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 15 left them at 7-7 and put their playoff hopes on the brink.

And they won the Super Bowl.

In 2010, the Green Bay Packers lost three of four games going into Week 16, which made them 8-6. They dropped back-to-back games in Weeks 14 and 15.

And they won the Super Bowl.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said on Monday that he discussed recent Super Bowl history with his players following their 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos.

"We do give history lessons quite often; sometimes it's National Football League history and sometimes it's real history," Harbaugh said with a grin.

Baltimore has clinched a playoff spot, but that did little to cheer them up considering they have bigger aspirations this season. That begins with winning the AFC North, Harbaugh said, then it's on to "the ultimate prize."

"That's a possibility too; that's an opportunity that we have," Harbaugh said.

One thing the Giants and Packers both did was win their final two regular season games. They went into the playoffs with at least a little momentum.

From there, they each won four straight games to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

If the Ravens are going to pull off the same feat, they would need to start this Sunday against the defending champion Giants.

"[The loss] feels awful, but it's about the team that gets hot right now," running back Ray Rice said.

"We've just got to keep moving forward, keep our eye on the prize," quarterback Joe Flacco added. "Everything in this league is 'what have you done for me lately,' and we've got to continue to move forward and stay confident because nobody's going to be too high on us except ourselves."

Harbaugh stressed to his team that it must focus on the positive.

He admitted that the team's second three-game losing streak during his five-year tenure has been "difficult," but Harbaugh flipped it into a challenge, and thus an opportunity to conquer it.

"You can dwell on those things that aren't so helpful, or you can choose to dwell on hope. And that's what we do," Harbaugh said.

"We've seen it all this year. We've had injuries, we've had adversity, we've had exhilaration, we've had great moments. So, that's what a season is made of, and the team that navigates all these things the best in the end will be the one true champion. That's in front of us. That's what we're looking to accomplish. So, make no mistake about it; we're not backing down from that. All the other stuff, it's just noise to us. It doesn't mean much. We know what our goals are."

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