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Who to root for in Week 12 if you are a Baltimore Ravens fan

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Who to root for in Week 12 if you are a Baltimore Ravens fan

At the moment the Baltimore Ravens control their own playoff destiny. Win all six games to go 11-5 and the Ravens are in the postseason.

Thinking that would be naive based on what we've seen from Baltimore this year. On top of that, no one actually knows when Joe Flacco will return, which yes he is the best quarterback on the roster that gives the Ravens a chance to make the playoffs.

As the second place team in the Wild Card, the Ravens do not have much wiggle room in the standings. 

Playing only two teams that are in the heat of the playoff race means that Baltimore needs some help. 

This week the Ravens could really use a loss from the Cincinnati Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Tennessee Titans.

Ravens Week 12 Rooting Guide

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7) vs. Buffalo Bills (3-7)
Sunday, Nov. 25 at 1:00 p.m.

Rolling the Bills in Week 1 makes this an easy choice on which team to root for. If Buffalo makes a huge comeback in the standings (only two games back of Baltimore), the Ravens already have the tiebreaker. Besides is everyone convinced the Jaguars are that bad? It's better off if that defense has all hope vanquished. Root for the Bills.

Cleveland Browns (3-6-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)
Sunday, Nov. 25 at 1:00 p.m.

On top of the Browns having the lesser record than the Bengals, the Ravens have the advantage of playing Cleveland one more time this season to pad their lead over their divisional opponent. With the turmoil on the Bengals coaching staff, its not too far out of the realm of possibilities to root for the Browns.

New England Patriots (7-3) vs. New York Jets (3-7)
Sunday, Nov. 25 at 1:00 p.m.

For the Ravens to pass the Patriots in the AFC playoff picture Baltimore would either have to climb back in the AFC North to pass the Steelers OR the Patriots would have to let the Miami Dolphins come back. Neither seems likely. The Jets don't look like a team about to turn it around either to make a run for a Wild Card berth. Might as well just go against New England and root for the Jets.

Arizona Cardinals (2-8) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (7-3)
Sunday, Nov. 25 at 4:05 p.m.

When it's AFC vs. NFC always root for the NFC. Given that it's the Chargers helps too. It's not going to happen but, root for the Cardinals.

Miami Dolphins (5-5) vs. Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
Sunday, Nov. 25 at 1:00 p.m.

A tie would be the best possible result at this point in time for the Ravens. Baltimore hasn't played, nor will play, either team before the year is out. Here we'll look at the remaining schedule for Miami (Bills, Patriots, @ Vikings, Jaguars, Bills) and Indianapolis (@ Jaguars, @ Texans, Cowboys, Giants, @ Titans). The Dolphins have a slightly easier schedule and it's too far to look ahead to record against common opponents. Root for the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1) vs. Denver Broncos (4-6)
Sunday, Nov. 25 at 1:00 p.m.

Baltimore is behind Pittsburgh in the division by 2.5 games. At the same time, Baltimore's only up by a game over the Broncos for the second Wild Card. A fan of the Ravens should not want either team to win. Under the assumption that the Ravens do their job and win games they're supposed to win, it's too early to give up on a division title. Besides, Baltimore has the head-to-head win over Denver. This is a tough call, but root for the Broncos.

Tennessee Titans (5-5) vs. Houston Texans (7-3)
Sunday, Nov. 25 at 8:20 p.m.

One team has to win the AFC South so it might as well be the Texans. Ignore the chance to pass them for a higher seed, Baltimore needs to lock down the Wild Card first. A loss from Tennessee helps in that regard. Root for the Texans. 

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Ravens at Seahawks Week 7: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Ravens at Seahawks Week 7: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Ravens have four wins already this season, but none stand out as a signature victory.

The Ravens blew the doors of future 0-16 Miami Dolphins, then got past Arizona, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati by six, three and six points, respectively. The combined record for those three? 4-13-1.

Now, two of those games weren't really as close as the final score made it look. But for a team with designs on contending in the AFC, it's a little concerning that Baltimore's point-differential would be negative-15 if you take out the 59-0 win in Miami that, frankly, shouldn't count.

All that came against a pretty light schedule. The Ravens have only face two non-terrible teams, but they lost to both. Now? Their schedule takes another step up in difficulty, and the first stage comes in Seattle.

The Ravens are traveling across the country to face the 5-1 Seahawks, who are flying high thanks to their quarterback, Russell Wilson. Wilson would be something close to the consensus MVP if the season ended today, thanks to his 1,704 yards, 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The Seahawks own one of the most fearsome home field advantages in football, making this one of the toughest tests of the Ravens' season. 

This battle looks especially important, considering the gauntlet awaiting Baltimore after their Week 8 bye. Five of their next six games beginning in Week 9 are vs. New England, vs. Houston, at Los Angeles (Rams), vs. San Francisco, and at Buffalo. Those teams are a ridiculous 22-6 this season, so the Ravens need to stock up on as many wins as possible during the rest of their schedule.

They'll look to enter their bye with some momentum behind an MVP candidate of their own, albeit not one quite on Wilson's level just yet, in Lamar Jackson.

Jackson continued his own stellar start to the season in Week 6, becoming the first quarterback to ever pass for 200 yards and rush for 150 in a regular season game. He also became the first player in NFL history to earn both the FedEx Air Player of the Week and Ground Player of the Week in the same season.

His dual-threat dominance has keyed a resurgent Ravens offense, forced to carry a surprisingly-struggling defense. The Ravens are hoping their in-season acquisition of cornerback Marcus Peters will provide a jolt to their injured secondary.

Speaking of the secondary, safety Earl Thomas is making his long-anticipated return to Seattle on Sunday, a reunion you don't want to miss.

This is one of the biggest games on the slate in the NFL this weekend, and it's one of the biggest swing games for the Ravens' season. Two franchises defined by their defenses will be carried by their high-octane offenses in what should be a terrific atmosphere.

Here's everything you need to know about the game. 

RAVENS AT SEAHAWKS WEEK 7:

Who: Baltimore Ravens at Seattle Seahawks

What: Week 7 of the regular season

When: Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, 4:25 p.m. ET

Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA

TV Channel: FOX

Live Stream: FOX Sports, FuboTV

Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090, 98Rock and 101.5 FM

Weather: High of 53 degrees, 5-10 mph winds, strong chance of rain (80 percent)

RAVENS 2019 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE:

Week 1: Sun., 9/8 at Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. (W, 59-10)

Week 2: Sun., 9/15 vs. Cardinals, 1:00 p.m. (W, 23-17)

Week 3: Sun., 9/22 at Chiefs. 1:00 p.m. (L, 33-28)

Week 4: Sun., 9/29 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m. (L, 40-25)

Week 5: Sun., 10/6 at Steelers, 1:00 p.m. (W (OT), 26-23)

Week 6: Sun., 10/13 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m. (W, 23-17)

Week 7: Sun., 10/20 at Seahawks, 4:25 p.m.

Week 8: BYE week

Week 9: Sun., 11/3 vs. Patriots, 8:20 p.m.

Week 10:  Sun., 11/10 at Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 11: Sun., 11/17 vs. Texans, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Mon., 11/25 at Rams, 8:15 p.m.

Week 13: Sun., 12/1 vs. 49ers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sun., 12/8 at Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Thu., 12/12 vs. Jets, 8:20 p.m.

Week 16: Sun., 12/22 at Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 17: Sun., 12/29 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

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Ravens look for more AFC North separation, 5-2 record headed into bye week

Ravens look for more AFC North separation, 5-2 record headed into bye week

The Ravens have their toughest individual test of the season on Sunday.

Against MVP favorite Russell Wilson, the Ravens will need their best performance of the year. And if they’re able to get that, they’d be three games over .500 headed into their bye week with the Patriots looming. 

The rest of the division aside, the opportunity is there for the Ravens to pull ahead in the NFC North and the potential playoff race.

“It won’t make or break us, but it will go a long way in setting us up for where we’re headed down the road and what kind of season we’re going to have,” head coach John Harbaugh said. 

The Ravens currently have a two-game lead in the division with the Browns and Steelers on a bye week. With a win, their lead would move to two and a half games ahead of their bye next week. 

After that, the Patriots come to Baltimore for Sunday Night Football.

First, however, the Ravens are focused on the Seahawks, no matter how boring that may sound.

“I’m going to give you the cliché, but it’s the truth,” Harbaugh said bluntly. “We just have to focus on Seattle. So, how the schedule fell or how we fit...It’s better to be 4-2 than 3-3 or 2-4, but not as good as 6-0 or 5-1. That’s my thought on it. And 5-2 would be a lot better than 4-3.”

In order to get to 5-2, the Ravens will need to go through Wilson and his excellent season thus far. He hasn’t thrown an interception, has 17 total touchdowns and is on pace for nearly 5,000 yards from scrimmage. 

“He’s playing at an MVP level, and I agree with that,” defensive coordinator Don Martindale said. “It’s sort of like playing against Steph Curry in basketball, if you will. You can pick him up from half court, and he’s going to try to drive by you when you’re saying ‘keep him in the pocket,’ or you can slack off, and he’s going to pull up and hit a three.”

Baltimore will get new addition Marcus Peters into the fold to help with a growingly injured secondary. He’s already played Seattle this season, so the Ravens are hoping he’ll be able to draw on that knowledge to face Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks offense.

But perhaps the biggest story of the secondary is the return of Earl Thomas to the Seattle. 

The last time he was in a Seahawks uniform, he was carted off with a broken leg and flipped off his own sideline. He’ll return to his former team of nine years on Sunday.

“Hopefully they (the fans) respect what I've done, and I'll get a couple cheers, not too many boos,” Thomas said. “And whatever happens, happens, but hopefully it's love."

Aside from all of that, the Ravens say they’re not focused on 5-2 or what could come with a win over one of the NFL’s best teams and quarterbacks.

“We need to be 1-0 this week,” Harbaugh said. “We need to play our best football of the year in Seattle to win the game, and that’s what we’re planning on doing. And that’s what we’re going to work for.”

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