Odds Ravens Clinch Playoffs
Despite having the most avenues to the postseason of the remaining AFC wild-card contenders, the Ravens don't have the best odds of advancing.
That distinction belongs to the Miami Dolphins, and the Ravens are a very distant second.
After simulating Week 17 games 50,000 times, the peeps at Football Outsiders came up with the following sixth-seed odds:
Miami Dolphins: 58.7 percent*Clinch with win Ravens loss OR win Chargers win
*Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero pointed out that the Chiefs are giving the Dolphins a very generous Christmas gift, which could ultimately hurt the Ravens. "As I didn't really get Miami fans] anything, let me do so now: The Kansas Chiefs are expected to rest their starters against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday,” he wrote. “[Merry Christmas."
Baltimore Ravens: 18.9 percent*Clinch with win Chargers or Dolphins loss OR losses by Chargers, Dolphins and Steelers
*Can the Ravens go into Cincinnati (undefeated at home) with a gimpy Joe Flacco and win? In this NFL Network debate on which AFC team will advance, all three analysts said they don't think the Ravens can pull off the upset. "Baltimore has run out of luck," said analyst Heath Evans.
San Diego Chargers: 13.3 percent
Clinch with win losses by Dolphins and Ravens
Even though the odds are against the Chargers, U-T San Diego's Kevin Acee is injecting a little holiday hope into Chargers fans, saying* *their "playoff path [is] not as severe as it seems." He's banking on a Ravens loss against a motivated Bengals team and the Jets playing for Head Coach Rex Ryan's job.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 9.1 percent*Clinch with win losses by Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers
*It's a loooooooooong shot for the Steelers to advance, but they've done it under these circumstances before. The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette dove into the history books and found that the 1989 Steelers had to win their final game and needed three other teams to lose. It all happened, and they advanced. And here is an interesting quote from Head Coach Mike Tomlin on his team's attitude: "There are a lot of scenarios out there, but our approach will be the same that it's been for the last two months. We've made this bed and I like the way this group is lying in it."
Santa Rice, JibJab Ravens and Christmas Gifts
Wonder what Ray Rice would look like dressed up as Santa Claus?
No? Well, you get to see this awesome picture of him in full Saint Nick attire anyway. Rice posted this on Instagram yesterday, saying: "Merry Christmas!! #SantaRice."
More Christmas cheer was spread by Terrell Suggs, who tweeted a hearty "MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!" with this JibJab video of his teammates. Naughty or nice? You've gotta watch this video for Macareindeer! //
And while we're in the Christmas mood, let's take a look at some to the gifts ESPN's Jamison Hensley handed out to the Ravens.
First, for Rice, three yards. That's all he needs* *to surpass Jamal Lewis (9,166 yards) for the most yards from scrimmage in team history.
For Joe Flacco, an improved offensive line.
For Eugene Monroe, a new contract.
For Dennis Pitta, a round of applause.
For Art Jones, a new sack dance.
For Jimmy Smith, an apology.
There are many more. Check out his full Ravens Christmas list here.
Ngata Showing Old, Disruptive Form
We're starting to see the Haloti Ngata of old.
Ever since he returned to action after missing the overtime loss in Chicago, The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson says the defensive tackle has "gradually gotten healthier and begun to recapture his old, disruptive form."
Despite only registering 1.5 sacks this season, Ngata has 11 tackles and two pass deflections over the last two games. He's not satisfied yet, however.
"It's definitely gotten a little better," Ngata said. "I think I can do more. I definitely want to do better pass rushing and be more of a disruption there, but it's definitely better than it has been earlier in the season."
Power Rankings: Week 17
The average Ravens ranking among 32 teams is No. 12.
The 41-7 blowout loss knocked Baltimore down most power rankings listed below.
CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco: No. 12 (no movement)
"What happened against the Patriots? Now they have to win to have a playoff chance."
ProFootballTalk.com, Mike Florio: No. 12 (dropped four spots)
"It's too bad Justin Tucker couldn't kick 14 field goals on Sunday."
Fox Sports, Brian Billick: No. 13 (dropped one spot)
"The Ravens have now scored just one touchdown in the past two games. I've been there before!"
ESPN, Panel of six voters: No. 14 (dropped two spots)
"The Ravens badly needed a win in Week 16 to help their playoff hopes. Instead, they lost by 34, their worst loss of the Joe Flacco-John Harbaugh era."
NFL.com, Elliot Harrison: No. 15 (dropped one spot)
"Huge loss in Baltimore, in terms of both the scoreboard and the standings. Now the Ravens have their work cut out for them with a road date in Cincinnati. … Oh, by the way, are the Ravens allergic to gaining more than 4 yards per carry?" * *SportingNews.com, Vinnie Iyer: No. 16 (dropped four spots)
"The Ravens have had the strangest, most frustrating season for a Super Bowl champion. They look great in grinding out some tough, close games, but then the bottom can drop it out like it did against New England. They're on the brink of a hangover that keeps them out of the playoffs for the first time in the Joe Flacco-John Harbaugh era."
SB Nation, Jason Chilton: No. 17 (dropped four spots)
"Joe Flacco ran the ball in for a meaningless touchdown early in the fourth quarter for the Ravens' only score. The Patriots responded with three more touchdowns, including one when Chandler Jones scooping up a fumble in the end zone. While the Patriots used the Ravens as a practice squad, the Bills were taking care of business on behalf of the Ravens, keeping Baltimore's playoff hopes alive by beating the Dolphins. We like to say there's a "race" for the sixth and final spot in the AFC, but it's more like a demolition derby."
The Ravens dropped out of his top-12 list after being No. 8 last week
- Looking at the Ravens-Patriots snap count from Sunday, Hensley noted that Rice got less playing time at running back than Bernard Pierce, noting it may be "a sign that Rice isn't at full strength." [ESPN]
- Kicker Justin Tucker appreciated the support his teammates game him after he missed a field goal after making 33 straight. [CSNBaltimore.com]
- @Artj97: Merry Christmas everyone!!! My son just sprinted in my room screaming Santa came Santa came!!! Waking me up . I wanna go back to sleep. :( [Twitter]
- @TorreySmithWR: Happy Birthday Jesus...Merry Christmas Y'all!!! [Twitter]
- @Ravens: Retweet of you like Joe Flacco's practice socks [Tuesday]. #SantaFlacco [Twitter]