Three weeks ago the Baltimore Ravens seemed like a lock to make the playoffs, but now they are surrounded by question marks.
The loss to Denver takes the prospect of a first-round bye completely out of the question, so what do the Ravens need to happen to ensure they get a Wild Card spot?
First, we must state the glaringly obvious. Baltimore needs to start winning again. Even after dropping three straight games, the Ravens can guarantee a playoff spot by beating both the New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals in their next two games.
Now, assuming the Jets don't miraculously win their last three games and throw a tremendous wrench into the proceedings, the final two AFC playoff spots will be decided between the Ravens, Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
What makes this such an interesting situation is that there are multiple head-to-head matchups left in this group. The Ravens versus Bengals Week 17 showdown is huge, but it becomes even more important if the Steelers beat the Bengals next week.
There are a lot of moving parts to this predicament right now, but for the Ravens it would be ideal to see the Steelers have the worst record of the bunch.
Baltimore beat Cincinnati earlier this season and therefore holds a clear tiebreaker over the Bengals. The Ravens also hold the best divisional record of the three as they have a 4-1 record within the AFC North. Pittsburgh has a 2-2 division record while Cincinnati's is 1-3.
Baltimore could make everything easy on themselves and just win its last two games. But after seeing their performance in Week 15 against the Broncos and knowing that nothing is easy in this division, expect a tough road to the playoffs.
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