How Baltimore Ravens Can Make The Playoffs
The Baltimore Ravens are trapped inside of a nightmare. A squad that once appeared to be strong Super Bowl contenders has unraveled due to a plethora of untimely injury-related issues, including one to star quarterback Lamar Jackson. John Harbaugh's Ravens have lost five consecutive games and now face an extremely difficult and uphill battle to qualify for the postseason.
Baltimore's thin playoff hopes remain alive heading into a Week 18 regular-season finale against the ever-familiar Pittsburgh Steelers, but they're hanging on by a thread. The Ravens can no longer win the division, as Cincinnati's (10-6) unlikely comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up the division title on Sunday.
That leaves Harbaugh's men vying for a wild-card spot. Firstly, they obviously need to defeat the Steelers in Week 18—a loss would automatically eliminate the Ravens from contention. The Ravens will encounter a surging Steelers team that also possesses postseason aspirations. It promises to be a highly-intense battle. Should Baltimore reign victorious, they'll turn their attention elsewhere.
In addition to securing their own victory, the Ravens would then need:
- Indianapolis Colts to lose to Jacksonville Jaguars
- Miami Dolphins to lose to (or tie) New England Patriots
- Los Angeles Chargers to lose to Las Vegas Raiders
The Patriots are largely expected to defeat the Dolphins, and the nighttime game between the Chargers and Raiders can be viewed as anybody's game, but requesting a favor from the 2-14 Jaguars is a difficult task indeed. If there's a faint glimmer of hope for Ravens faithful, it's that the Colts have somehow shockingly failed to defeat the Jaguars in Jacksonville since 2014.
Much of the week will center and focus around Jackson's availability to suit up under center for the Ravens on Sunday. Unfortunately for them, they need a lot more than a healthy Jackson and a win in order to save their 2021 season from ending in complete and utter disappointment.