Baltimore Ravens: How Do the Ravens Fit into the Playoff Picture after Week 12?

Mike FastContributor INovember 25, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 25:   Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackeld by Quentin Jammer #23 and  Antoine Cason #20 of the San Diego Chargers for a first down from a 3rd down and 29 at Qualcomm Stadium on November 25, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images


After somehow converting a 4th-and-29 late in the fourth quarter, Ray Rice and the Ravens retained their No. 2 spot in the AFC playoff picture by beating the Chargers in overtime, 16-13.

Now 9-2, the Ravens are still in first place in the AFC North. Because the Steelers lost to the Browns, Baltimore has a three-game lead over Pittsburgh with five games to go. They beat their arch-rival in Week 11 and host them next week at M&T Bank Stadium.

Cincinnati won their third game in a row to move to 6-5 on the year, the same record as Pittsburgh. As is stands, with current injuries limiting the Steelers, it looks like they will more likely challenge for a wild card spot rather than the division title.

That leaves the Texans (No. 1 seed, 10-1), the Patriots (No. 3 seed, 8-3) and the Broncos (No. 4 seed, 8-3) as the imminent threats to Baltimore's playoff position.

The Patriots will host the Texans in Week 14,  and in Week 15, the Ravens host the Broncos while New England hosts the San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1).

Ravens' playoff chances: 90 percent

Baltimore would basically have to lose every one of their remaining games to miss the playoffs.

Since their bye week (Week 8), the Ravens have sacked opposing quarterbacks 13 times and have caused seven more turnovers than their opponents. Most importantly, in those four games, Baltimore is 4-0 with three of their wins coming on the road.


Current playoff seed: No. 2

Through Week 12 of the NFL season, the Ravens are currently the No. 2 seed in the AFC. They are 4-0 in their division and have three of their next four games at home, where they've won 16 straight (playoffs included).

With fives games left, the Ravens are one game (and a head-to-head tiebreaker) up on the Patriots for a first-round bye. That's an automatic home game, and may be just the amount of time Ray Lewis needs to get back healthy.

Who knows what will happen? The Ravens showed on Sunday they're rushing the passer and converting on third downs (50 percent on Sunday; 34 percent through Week 11) much better than they have been. Those are two key stats that go hand-in-hand with playoff success.

While it doesn't look like it will happen, the Ravens have much more than a shot in the dark to win the No. 1 overall seed in the conference.

For now, holding onto the second seed while other contenders will have to play each other down the stretch is a good thing for Ravens fans, despite what they may say.