The Ravens currently sit in the sixth and final AFC wild-card spot.
Win in Houston and Baltimore maintains control of its playoff destiny. Win and get losses from a couple AFC North rivals and the Ravens would clinch a playoff spot.
As you watch the Ravens take on the Texans Sunday at 1 p.m., here's who to root for during commercial breaks (and on Monday night):* *
San Diego Chargers (8-6) at San Francisco 49ers (7-7), Saturday, 8:25 p.m. Root for: San Francisco
The 49ers' playoff chances are done, but Head Coach Jim Harbaugh could do his brother a favor by beating the Chargers. San Diego is nipping at the Ravens' heels in the wild-card race. The Chargers beat the Ravens, so they would own a head-to-head tiebreaker if that came into play. A Chargers loss would hurt their chances of catching up.* *
Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5), 1 p.m. Root for: Kansas City
If the Ravens and Steelers finished tied with the same record, the Steelers would win the division because they have a better division and/or AFC records. That means Baltimore needs Pittsburgh to drop one of its final two games to take the division. The Chiefs are in the wild-card chase, so a loss for them isn't too bad either. But a Steelers loss would be more valuable, especially if Baltimore wins Sunday.* *
Minnesota Vikings (6-8) at Miami Dolphins (7-7), 1 p.m.Root for: Minnesota
Mathematically, the Dolphins aren't out of the AFC wild-card chase. A loss against the Vikings would end their chances.* *
Cleveland Browns (7-7) at Carolina Panthers (5-8-1), 1 p.m. Root for: Carolina
The Browns are in a similar position to the Vikings. They're almost out, but not quite. A loss would eliminate their playoff chances. What would it do for their mentality heading into Week 17 against the Ravens?* *
New England Patriots (11-3) at New York Jets (3-11), 1 p.m. Root for: New England
Neither the Patriots or Jets matter in the Ravens' playoff chase. So why does this game matter? The Patriots play the Bills to close out the season next week. The Bills are in the wild-card contention. Thus, Ravens fans want the Patriots to beat the Bills. The Patriots could rest their starters, however, if they are out of the hunt for the AFC's top seed and home-field advantage. New England is currently tied with Denver at 11-3. If New England loses this week and rests it starters next week, it helps the Bills catch the Ravens.* *
Buffalo Bills (8-6) at Oakland Raiders (2-12), 4 p.m. Root for: Oakland
As previously written, the Bills are still in the chase. A loss in Oakland would essentially knock them out.* *
Denver Broncos (11-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1), Monday, 8:30 p.m. Root for: Denver
This is a huge game for the Ravens' playoff picture, both in the division and wild-card chase. The Bengals are clinging to a half-game lead in the AFC North, so they need to lose in order for the Ravens to leapfrog them. Denver also needs to keep pace with the Patriots so, as previously written, the Patriots have something to play for in Week 17 against Buffalo.