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Ravens' Playoff Outlook After Big Week 14 Win


The Ravens took a giant leap forward in the AFC playoff picture with Monday night's win in Cleveland.

Still, there is no room for error down the stretch in a fierce field of AFC wild-card challengers. Seven teams will get in this year, and the Ravens still may need to win out and finish 11-5 to make it.

Here's Baltimore's playoff outlook and contenders after Week 14:

Buffalo Bills (10-3)

Current seed: No. 3

Remaining games: at Broncos (5-8), at Patriots (6-7), vs. Dolphins (8-5)

Outlook: The Bills got a huge win over the Steelers on Sunday Night Football and could end up moving into the No. 2 spot in the AFC because of it. That would set up a date with the AFC's No. 7 seed, which the Ravens are chasing. The connection between quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs is a tough one for anyone to defend.

Tennessee Titans (9-4)

Current seed: No. 4

Remaining games: vs. Lions (5-8), at Packers (10-3), at Texans (4-9)

Outlook: The Titans currently sit atop the AFC South and are in solid position whether they win the division or go in as a wild-card contender. The Packers game will be a stiff challenge, but the rest of the schedule is favorable. The NFL's rushing leader, Derrick Henry, seems to get even stronger this time of year and is fresh off rumbling for 215 yards against the Jaguars.

Cleveland Browns (9-4)

Current seed: No. 5

Remaining games: at Giants (5-8), at Jets (0-13), vs. Steelers (11-2)

Outlook: Despite Monday night's brutal loss, the Browns are still in excellent position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002, though they need to avoid back-to-back losses. Cleveland's offense is humming behind Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb.

Indianapolis Colts (9-4)

Current seed: No. 6

Remaining games: vs. Texans (4-9), at Steelers (11-2), vs. Jaguars (1-12)

Outlook: The Colts have won two straight and four of their last five after losing to the Ravens. They hung 44 points on the Raiders on Sunday in an emphatic statement that strengthens their playoff bid. Indianapolis could still win the AFC South division title, but either way, they're in good position for a playoff berth. If the Colts were to stumble, which is always possible against a divisional foe like the Texans with the Steelers following, Baltimore could pass them with a head-to-head tiebreaker as extra ammunition.

Miami Dolphins (8-5)

Current seed: No. 7

Remaining games: vs. Patriots (6-7), at Raiders (7-6), at Bills (10-3)

Outlook: The Dolphins have a tough stretch of remaining games and injuries piling up at the wrong time. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is battling an ankle injury, while his top three pass targets (DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki and Jakeem Grant) all left Sunday's loss to the Chiefs with injuries. Their top running back is on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The Bills could rest their starters in Week 17, however, if they locked up the AFC East crown and don't have a shot at a first-round bye. The Dolphins must get wins the next two weeks to keep their chances alive.

Baltimore Ravens (8-5)

Current seed: No. 8

Remaining games: vs. Jaguars (1-12), vs. Giants (5-8), at Bengals (2-10-1)

Outlook: The Ravens have the "easiest" remaining schedule and are heating up down the stretch. Lamar Jackson has had two of his best games in back-to-back weeks and the Ravens have scored 81 points the past two games versus Cleveland and Dallas. The Ravens own head-to-head tiebreakers over the Indianapolis Colts and Browns. Thus, if they were to end up in a two-way or three-way tie with those teams, the Ravens would get in. However, Baltimore didn't play Miami this year, so if the Ravens end up in a tiebreaker with the Dolphins, the wild-card tiebreaker would go to conference record, where Baltimore doesn't have as much of an advantage considering all of its losses have come in the AFC. Thus, Baltimore needs a loss from either the Dolphins, Browns or Colts to get into the playoffs and none of the three play each other the rest of the way.

Las Vegas Raiders (7-6)

Current seed: No. 9

Remaining games: vs. Chargers (4-9), vs. Dolphins (8-5), at Broncos (5-8)

Outlook: The Raiders' hopes are fading. They've lost three of the past four and it should have been all four considering it took a last-second touchdown heave to beat the winless New York Jets, who fired their defensive coordinator the next day. The Raiders followed suit, firing their defensive coordinator Monday following a blowout loss to the Colts.

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