Ravens Playoff Outlook, Including Six Clinching Scenarios This Sunday

120219_Playoffs

At 10-2 and riding an eight-game winning streak, the Ravens sit atop the AFC.

Baltimore has the same record as the New England Patriots, who fell in Houston on Sunday Night Football, but the Ravens own the head-to-head tiebreaker via the Week 9 win.

The Ravens have beaten five teams currently projected to make the playoffs this year (Steelers, Seahawks, Patriots, Texans and 49ers) and last year’s NFC champion (Rams).

But don’t look for Head Coach John Harbaugh to buy into the excitement about the Ravens owning the AFC’s top spot heading into Week 14.

“It just means that you control your destiny,” Harbaugh said Monday following Baltimore’s 20-17 win over the 49ers. “They don't have a No. 1 seed until they do the seeding, so that's four weeks away.”

Here’s the Ravens’ playoff outlook, which includes six clinching scenarios for Sunday’s game in Buffalo:

Playoff Berth

The Ravens clinch a playoff berth with a win against the Bills. It’s that simple.

Even if Baltimore were to drop the following three games, the Ravens would still (at worst) get a wild-card spot.

The Ravens also punch their ticket if they tie the Bills and the Houston Texans or Tennessee Titans lose or tie. Baltimore can get it even with a loss in Buffalo if the Texans lose, Indianapolis Colts lose/tie and Titans-Oakland Raiders game ends in a tie. Got all that?

AFC North Title

Baltimore can clinch the AFC North crown in Buffalo with a win and Steelers loss/tie. The Ravens can also clinch with a tie and Steelers loss.

First-Round Bye

The Ravens would get a first-round bye for the first time since 2011 if they finish as one of the top two teams in the AFC. Right now, the Ravens and Patriots are two games up on the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans (8-4).

Baltimore owns a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Texans, but lost to the Chiefs in Week 3, so would lose that tiebreaker.

Home-Field Advantage

Only the AFC’s top-seeded team will be guaranteed they won’t play on the road until Miami – site of Super Bowl 54. The last time Baltimore hosted an AFC championship game was in 1971 with the Colts. The Ravens would love to change that this season.

The Patriots-Chiefs game this Sunday is a win-win for the Ravens. A Patriots victory strengthens Baltimore’s standing for a bye. A Chiefs victory (and Ravens win in Buffalo) essentially puts the Ravens a game ahead in the race for the No. 1-overall seed.

Here are the remaining schedules for the Ravens, Patriots, Chiefs and Texans, with opponents’ combined records in parentheses:

Baltimore Ravens (25-23)

Week 14 – at Bills
Week 15 – vs. Jets
Week 16 – at Browns
Week 17 – vs. Steelers

New England Patriots (21-27)

Week 14 – vs. Chiefs
Week 15 – at Bengals
Week 16 – vs. Bills
Week 17 – vs. Dolphins

Kansas City Chiefs (24-24)

Week 14 – at Patriots
Week 15 – vs. Broncos
Week 16 – at Bears
Week 17 – vs. Chargers

Houston Texans (23-25)

Week 14 – vs. Broncos
Week 15 – at Titans
Week 16 – at Buccaneers
Week 17 – vs. Titans

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