With the Ravens playing on Monday Night Football this week, Baltimore fans have an open Sunday to knock out their Christmas shopping.
For football fans who still plan on stationing themselves on the couch to watch the NFL slate, here's a breakdown of which teams you should be pulling for to boost Baltimore's playoff chances:
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) at Buffalo Bulls (6-6)
This is an easy game to pick your allegiances. The Ravens are in a tight race with the Steelers for the AFC North crown, and they could use a favor from their old friend Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills this week. The Bills are also fighting for their playoff lives, so they have plenty at stake in this showdown. A Bills victory would go a long way in helping the Ravens in the division race, particularly if they take down the New England Patriots the next day.
Who to root for:Bills
Denver Broncos (8-4) at Tennessee Titans (6-6)
The Broncos currently hold the final spot in the wild-card race, but their playoff life is no guarantee considering they have a brutal schedule in the final four games. The Ravens have played themselves back into the conversation for a wild-card spot, but they still need the Broncos to come back to the pack a bit. If the Broncos fall to the Titans, they could suddenly find themselves on the outside of the playoff bubble. The Titans are also in contention for a wild-card spot, but they're currently behind the Ravens in the standings. Winning the division is certainly still the goal for Baltimore, but having another path to the postseason sure wouldn't hurt.
Who to root for:Titans
Arizona Cardinals (5-6) at Miami Dolphins (7-5)
The Ravens took care of business last week against the Dolphins, but Miami's playoff chances are still very much alive. The Dolphins are another team eyeing a wild-card spot, so it would be nice if the NFC's Cardinals could hand them a second-straight December loss. A benefit for the Ravens is that if they end up tied with the Dolphins in the standings, Baltimore holds the tiebreaker because of the head-to-head victory.
Who to root for: Cardinals
Cincinnati Bengals (4-7-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-12)
This game doesn't really mean all that much because both teams are essentially out of the playoff race. The real story here is whether the Browns are able to fend off the winless season, and the matchup with Cincinnati might be their best chance to do so. The outcome of this game won't necessarily impact the Ravens, so the rooting interest really just depends on whether you'd like to see the Browns endure a winless year. Then again, it might be nice to push the Bengals even further down to ensure they have little to play for when they host the Ravens in Week 17.
Who to root for: Toss up