Ravens Clinch Playoff Spot With Win Over Falcons

The Ravens are back in the playoffs.

Baltimore locked up a spot in Week 16 with a 17-9 win against the Atlanta Falcons at M&T Bank Stadium and some help, pushing the Ravens' record to 10-5 with two weeks left.

"To clinch the playoffs with two games left is pretty remarkable," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "It's not done too often, and it's something to be really proud of. I'm really happy with that. It will probably sink in tonight later." 

The Cincinnati Bengals beat the New England Patriots Saturday afternoon and the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the New York Jets Thursday night. That was one of the 10 combinations the Ravens needed to get in.

The Bengals held on to win, 22-18, after jumping out to a 22-0 lead. The Patriots fumbled on first-and-goal from the 5-yard line with just under a minute left. Since that game ended about 20 minutes after the Ravens' victory, Harbaugh and others were monitoring the score as they spoke about their win.

But the Ravens weren't huddled around TVs in the locker room. There was no raucous celebration.

"It's a good feeling. There's a lot of hard work that gets put into this and into where we are now," tight end Mark Andrews said. "But we've got to take it slow. We've got to keep building up our armor these next two games because we can get better and we need to be better."

The Ravens can still win the AFC North by winning their final two games versus Pittsburgh and at Cincinnati. The Bengals (11-4) remain one game ahead, but Baltimore would win a head-to-head division tiebreaker with a Week 18 victory.

It's the 10th time the Ravens have made the playoffs in Harbaugh's 15 years. Last year, Baltimore faded out of the playoff picture with six straight losses down the stretch after Lamar Jackson went down with an ankle injury.

The Ravens got it done this year with Jackson sidelined a knee injury for a fourth game. The Ravens won three of them, beating the Broncos, Steelers, and Falcons with Tyler Huntley under center.

"I feel like in games like this, you see that character rewarded because they put the work in every single day, [and] they never bat an eye," Harbaugh said. "Yes, they get frustrated, they get disappointed, they want things to go smoother sometimes, but they stick together bottom-line, and they work really hard. To see them rewarded with an early clinch in the playoffs, heck yes. That's something very notable and to be excited about." 

The Ravens' health across the board this season is much better than last year. Baltimore also faced a brutal difficulty of schedule down the stretch last year. Baltimore's defense has led the way to the playoffs, giving up just three touchdowns and 45 points over the past four games.

"The goal is to make the playoffs, but we still have two more games and we have business to take care of," fullback Patrick Ricard said.

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