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Every scenario in which the Ravens could make the playoffs

Every scenario in which the Ravens could make the playoffs

The Baltimore Ravens are sitting at 8-6 on the 2016 season and currently trail Pittsburgh by a game in the AFC North division. 

However, the Ravens have one significant playoff element in their favor that the Redskins do not currently enjoy. Baltimore controls its own playoff destiny at this point due to a head-to-head win vs. Pittsburgh in Week 9 and the potential for head-to-head sweep on Christmas Eve day.

Let's look at the Ravens scenarios going forward.

Baltimore heads to Pittsburgh in Week 16 to face their division rival with big stakes on the line. The Ravens can maintain control of their fate for the division title if they simply beat the Steelers this Saturday.

Baltimore will clinch the AFC North division title over the last two weeks with:

1) Two wins (at Pittsburgh, at Cincinnati) OR

2) Win at Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh loss to Cleveland OR

3) Tie with Pittsburgh and win at Cincinnati and Pittsburgh loss to Cleveland

If the Ravens win out to win the division and go 10-6, they will be locked in as the No. 3 seed and will face the No. 6 seed on Wild Card weekend. That opponent could anyone from Miami, Kansas City, Denver, Pittsburgh, Houton, Tennessee, Buffalo or Indianapolis).

If Baltimore does not win the division, but finishes 9-7 (1-1 over last two weeks), here's what they need to clinch a playoff berth (assuming no ties):

1) Two Miami Losses (at Buffalo, vs. New England) and one Denver loss (at Kansas City, vs. Oakland)

In this case, the Ravens would be the No. 6 seed and will likely be playing at Pittsburgh (AGAIN!) on Wild Card weekend.

That means if Baltimore beats Pittsburgh this week, the Ravens will be assured of at least a playoff berth if Denver loses at Kansas City Christmas night and Miami loses at Buffalo and then Miami loses to New England in Week 17.

Unfortunately, that also means that if Baltimore loses at Pittsburgh this week, a Miami win at Buffalo will eliminate the Ravens from the playoffs.

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Report: Ravens add Kenjon Barner to crowded running back room

Report: Ravens add Kenjon Barner to crowded running back room

The Ravens running back room has suddenly become a tad more crowded.

Baltimore has reportedly signed seven-year veteran Kenjon Barner, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The addition of Barner likely has little to do with Baltimore's plan on offense, as Mark Ingram and rookie J.K. Dobbins are expected to carry the bulk of the Ravens' rushing attack.

Barner, a former star at the University of Oregon, spent the past year with the Atlanta Falcons as the team's primary returner. For Baltimore, bringing in a guy like Barner makes sense, as one of the team's primary return men from a year ago, De'Anthony Thomas, decided to opt-out of the 2020 season.

The signing of Barner is a low-risk, high-reward one for Baltimore. Rookie James Proche is also expected to be in the mix in the return game.

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh: ‘I can’t imagine there’s any safer place than an NFL football team right now’

Ravens coach John Harbaugh: ‘I can’t imagine there’s any safer place than an NFL football team right now’

Ravens coach John Harbaugh hasn’t been shy on his feelings about the NFL’s coronavirus protocols. He said in June, and repeated Friday, they’re impossible to follow to a T. 

But he’s also very confident in the ability of NFL teams to create a safe and productive environment during a global pandemic. 

Harbaugh said that compared to the rest of the country, most players are safer at facilities with their teams than at their homes.

“I can’t imagine there’s any safer place than an NFL football team right now, an NBA basketball bubble,” Harbaugh said. “We’re pretty darn safe. If you want to rank them, we’re all in the top five across the country. We’re right up there with anybody. We get tested every day and we are wearing masks everywhere.”

The Ravens, by all accounts, have done well making sure their facility in Owings Mills is not only following protocols for players and coaches, but also making sure it’s as easy a transition as possible. 

Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen said last week that players are constantly being reminded to wear their masks, wash their hands and keep distance from one another.

“All you can do is the best you can do and mitigate it to a great extent,” Harbaugh said. “I think we’ve done a really good job of that so far, there are no guarantees going forward. We’ve got to stay vigilant like we’ve done.”

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The Ravens have had just two players opt out of the upcoming season — wide receiver/kick returner De’Anthony Thomas and tackle Andre Smith — but it was certainly a conversation for a lot of players in the locker room. 

Most notably, defensive lineman Calais Campbell.

“I definitely considered (opting out). You have to,” Campbell said. “You can’t play football with this going on and not think about the risk you’re going to put on yourself and your family. Going through that process, I realized talking to the doctors and just setting up the protocols and other things we have to do to keep each other safe, I felt like the risks were mitigated the best we can.”

Campbell, who was acquired from the Jaguars in a trade in March, is set to turn 34-years-old on Sept. 1 and has asthma. 

The five-time Pro Bowl selection would have been one of the most notable names in the league to voluntarily opt out of the 2020 season. But with the protocols in place, he felt safer about his participation. 

One topic of discussion for the Ravens and their protocols, too, has been the option of quarantining a specific group of players to prevent a spread. 

Likely, those players would be at positions of extreme value — like quarterback — or players where backups aren’t readily available — like kicker. It just so happens that the Ravens have two of the league’s best players at those positions in Lamar Jackson and Justin Tucker. 

But as Harbaugh said, each move comes with a consequence, and that includes the “safer” option of quarantining the entire league.

“For instance, if you were going to quarantine the NFL for six months, yeah, if you were a doctor, you’d say, ‘Yeah, we want the best chance to keep everyone safe and healthy,’” Harbaugh said. “That would be great, but I kind of want to see my wife at some point in time in the next six months, and she doesn’t have coronavirus. So you’ve got to live with a certain amount of risk in order to live your life. We don’t want to forfeit all these guys' lives and they’re not willing to do it.”

Which means, for now, the players at the facility have assumed a level of risk for the upcoming season.

With the Ravens’ protocols in place, however, it’s all about minimizing those risks as much as possible.

“I put a lot of thought into it on my own, too, with my own underlying issues,” Campbell said. “I’m pretty confident in my ability to follow the rules.”

Stay connected to the Ravens and Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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