Ravens Take Over Fifth Seed, Now Have More Paths to Playoffs


The Ravens didn't have to scoreboard watch on Christmas because they don't need any help next week to get into the playoffs.

After holding on to a 23-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts Saturday, the Ravens are guaranteed a playoff spot if they beat the Cincinnati Bengals next week back in M&T Bank Stadium.

However, Sunday's slate of NFL games did provide more playoff paths for Baltimore just in case the Ravens were to stumble next week.

The Tennessee Titans' loss to the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills' loss to the New England Patriots Sunday moved the Ravens into the fifth playoff seed for the time being. The Ravens are 9-6 while the Titans and Bills are both now 8-7.

Thus, if the Ravens win next week, they'll have the fifth seed and will travel to face the AFC West-winning Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round.

If the Ravens do not win next week, they still have two paths into a wild-card spot.

Baltimore would be in if the Miami Dolphins beat or tie the Buffalo Bills or the Titans lose to or tie the Jaguars. The Ravens can't get in if they lose while both the Bills and Titans win next week (Baltimore would lose the 9-7 tiebreaker).

Still, the Ravens don't want to leave their playoff hopes in anyone's hands, and already began talking about next week's big showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals, who Baltimore beat, 20-0, in Week 1 behind five turnovers.

The Ravens could enjoy Christmas knowing they're in control, and Head Coach John Harbaugh gave them Sunday and Monday off to be with their families, but they'll be back to work early Tuesday.

"We have to put everything we have into this game. Everything we've done from the beginning, right down until today, you go all the way back to training camp and OTAs, it all comes down to one game," Harbaugh said.

"If we have our best week of practice, then we have a chance to play our best football. We're going to need to, because Cincinnati looks healthy, to me, from what I could see, and they're going to be motivated."

The Ravens made the playoffs each of the first five years after Harbaugh came to Baltimore in 2008, culminating with their Super Bowl XLVII victory, but have missed the postseason three of the past four years since.

"We all have a job to do. We just have to put together one good game," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "One good game, and we are in [the playoffs]. If we win, we are in. Everybody knows that second season, we become a different team; a special team."

"We had our chance last year, and [we were] one play away," linebacker C.J. Mosley added. "Now, it's all in our hands right now."

Check out the scenes from M&T Bank Stadium as the Ravens host the Colts in week 16 of the NFL season!

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