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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