BALTIMORE — The Ravens have had one of the NFL’s toughest schedules this season. Now, they're tied for the NFL’s best record.
With a last-second win over the 49ers on Sunday, the Ravens moved to 10-2 on the season. And paired with a Patriots loss to the Texans, the Ravens are now the top seed in the AFC due to a head-to-head tiebreaker.
The 10-2 mark is an impressive record, but even more impressive considering the teams the Ravens have beaten to get to this point.
After Sunday’s games, the win percentage of the last six Ravens opponents is .633. If the 1-11 Bengals are eliminated, five of the last six games featured wins over teams with a combined .745 win percentage.
“We’re just a strong team,” Lamar Jackson said. “Ever since I was growing up, that’s what the Ravens have been — a team (that’s) hard to beat. A lot of people wanted to beat the Ravens. I’m glad it’s back the same way, but we’ve just got to keep it going because it’s ‘Any Given Sunday,’ so we’ve just got to play.”
The two top teams in the AFC and NFC, entering Sunday, the Patriots and 49ers, both played the Ravens. They both lost.
Of the Ravens 12 games they’ve played this season, five wins have come against the other 11 teams in playoff spots, as of Sunday night. The only loss came to the Chiefs on the road, who are 8-4.
“I was just talking to some of the guys, and I feel like this is the best team I’ve ever been on,” Mark Ingram said. “2011 Saints was a great team. The last couple of years were great teams, but there’s just something special about this group of guys. We believe in each other. We fight hard for each other. And no matter how ugly or pretty it is, we’re going to keep fighting.”
Baltimore will get another chance at knocking off a playoff team when it heads to Buffalo next week to face the 9-3 Bills.
And should the Rams jump to a playoff spot, the number of playoff teams beaten would jump to six.
“Like I keep telling people, we play Ravens football, we have each other's backs, and we’re not scared of anybody,” Willie Snead IV said. “Whoever steps up to the plate, we’re going to go at them like we have every game.”
Now winners of eight-straight games, the Ravens have a stranglehold on the AFC North and lead the division by three games over the Steelers with just four to play — and a season finale left to play against the Steelers.
The eight straight wins is also a franchise record, one that seemed incredibly unlikely after the Browns left M&T Bank Stadium in September after hanging 40 points on the Ravens.
“We have never been 10-2 since I have been here,” Chris Wormley said. “Usually at this point in the season, we are clawing our way to get a playoff game. Trying to win the division or to get that wild card spot. Now we are in the position that we just keep doing what we are doing, we can play for that first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.”
With just four games to play, and a first-round bye and home-field advantage now within reach, it’s well within reason to begin thinking about January football in Baltimore.
And if the recent stretch is any indication, February football isn’t out of the question.
“Of course that’s our goal,” Ingram said. “That’s our aspiration. But we’re going to enjoy this for tonight, come back tomorrow and start preparing for the Bills. You all can talk about the Super Bowl all you want, and of course, that’s what we want, but we’re going to take it one day at a time around here.”
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