Ravens

AFC Playoff Picture: Tiebreakers could help Ravens secure wild card

Ravens

Not only was the Ravens' Week 14 win over the Browns arguably the game of the year, but it was also a much-needed victory for a Baltimore team on the outside looking in of the AFC playoffs. 

Now at 8-5, the Ravens are in a great position to grab one of the three wild-card spots in the conference. A loss would've made things very difficult. 

There's still work to be done, however. The AFC is stacked with good teams and Baltimore will still need a little help from their rivals to get in, though their tiebreaker situation should give them an advantage.

AFC Wild Card standings

5. Browns (9-4)

6. Colts (9-4)

7. Dolphins (8-5)

8. Ravens (8-5)

9. Raiders (7-6)

10. Patriots (6-7)

With three games to go against the Jaguars, Giants and Bengals, the Ravens have a pretty good chance of winning out, and they might need to. If the Ravens go 3-0 to close the season, they need one of the Browns or Colts to go 2-1. They hold the tiebreaker over both teams with a head-to-head win over Indianapolis and a season-sweep of Cleveland.

The Browns close out with the Giants, Jets, and finally the Steelers in Week 17. With the chance that Pittsburgh will have their playoff seed locked up by the final week of the year, the Browns may luck out and play a team resting its starters. 

Meanwhile, the Colts play the Texans, Steelers and Jaguars to finish out. 

 

The Dolphins' situation could be tricky. Since the Ravens didn't play Miami this year, conference record would be the deciding factor. As of now, the Ravens are 5-5 in the AFC with two remaining matchups with the Bengals and Jaguars while the Dolphins are 5-4 in the AFC and have meetings with the Bills, Raiders and Patriots over the final three weeks of the year. 

If Miami finishes with the same record as the Ravens, their success in those three games will dictate the tiebreaker. If both teams finish with the same conference record, their record against common opponents would become the deciding factor.

Per ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI), the Ravens have an 86% chance to make the playoffs, which is better than each of the three teams immediately ahead of them in the standings. The Colts (84.5%) and Browns (82.2%) are right behind them while the Dolphins (30.9%) are the first team out of the AFC.