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Who Ravens Fans Should Root for in Week 17


The Ravens don't have reason to sneak a peek at the scoreboard Sunday in Cincinnati. Their entire focus can be on beating the Bengals to get into the playoffs.

However, if the Ravens are locked in a tight game or fall behind, memories of 2017 may resurface and fans' eyes may shift to the other scores.

Baltimore can still get into the postseason even with a loss. Here's who Ravens fans should root for (just in case):

Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) at Cleveland Browns (10-5)
Sunday, 1 p.m.
If the Browns lose, the Ravens are in. The Browns have a lot to play for, however. They probably need to win to get into the playoffs and will face a Steelers team that has little to play for and will rest quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a few other starters. Cleveland was a virtual lock to make the playoffs a few weeks ago, but the Monday Night Football stunner versus Baltimore and unthinkable loss at the hands of the New York Jets has left them scrambling to avoid a collapse. They haven't made the playoffs since 2002.
Root for: Steelers

Miami Dolphins (10-5) at Buffalo Bills (12-3)
Sunday, 1 p.m.
This game doesn't impact the Ravens' playoff chances unless they tie the Bengals, but it could go a long way in determining Baltimore's wild-card opponent. If the Bills beat the Dolphins, Baltimore would face whoever wins the AFC South (Titans or Colts). If the Dolphins beat the Bills, Baltimore would face either the Steelers or Bills. So who you root for in this game probably comes down to who you'd prefer the Ravens to play in the wild-card round. The Dolphins, who barely survived last week in Las Vegas, punch their ticket with a win. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who engineered that comeback win, will not be available, however, after being placed on the COVID-19 list this week. The Bills are in a similar situation to the Steelers where they'll be either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed, and could rest some starters. If the Ravens tie and Dolphins lose, Baltimore is in. So just in case …
Root for: Bills

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
Let's hope it doesn't get to this point, but if the Ravens don't win and the Browns beat the Steelers, this would be a (slim) chance to still get into the playoffs. Baltimore is automatically in if Indianapolis loses this game. The Jaguars have the worst record in the NFL, however, and are riding a 14-game losing streak.
Root for: Jaguars

Tennessee Titans (10-5) at Houston Texans (4-11)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
The Titans would lose the AFC South crown with a loss and Colts win. They could fall out of the playoffs entirely if they lose. Tennessee is coming off a blowout defeat against Green Bay and the Texans are always scrappy with Deshaun Watson under center. Ravens fans are probably split between those who want revenge on the Titans after this year's overtime defeat and after they knocked Baltimore out of the playoffs last year. Others would probably take some pleasure in seeing the Titans miss the postseason altogether. The only way the Ravens' postseason chances are impacted by this game is if Baltimore ties. That and a Titans loss would get the Ravens into the postseason. So that'll be the tiebreaker.
Root for: Texans

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