It is rare to find a team that enters a week holding a playoff spot and could exit the week officially eliminated from the postseason, unless of course it is Week 17.

But that is the situation that the Baltimore Ravens could find themselves in during Week 16.

Right now, the Ravens (8-6) hold the No. 6 seed and the final Wild Card spot in the AFC playoff picture. They hold that advantage due to a three-way tiebreaker by conference record over the Indianapolis Colts (8-6) and the Tennessee Titans (8-6).

They are also half a game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1) for the AFC North division title.

Yet here is the scenario that would give the Ravens no chance in Week 17:

-Ravens lose to the Chargers
-Titans beat the Redskins
-Colts beat the Giants
-Steelers beat the Saints

The above results would yield these standings:

AFC North:
Steelers (9-5-1)
Ravens (8-7)

Final Wild Card spot:
Colts (9-6)
Titans (9-6)
Ravens (8-7)

In this scenario, the Ravens are fully out of the AFC North race, with it impossible to pass the Steelers. Yes, Pittsburgh is playing the Saints, but no one expected the Steelers to beat the Patriots nor the Saints to only score 12 points on Monday. 

While only one game back in the Wild Card, and still holding the tiebreaker over both the Colts and Titans, those two AFC South teams play each other in Week 17. One of two will get 10 wins (or they will both be 9-6-1). In which case, there is no possible scenario where the Ravens can make the playoffs.


So the Ravens HAVE to win this week to keep their playoff destiny in their hands. If not, it could be a dark week in Baltimore.