With the Miami Dolphins defeating the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon 24-20, the Baltimore Ravens have added pressure to win against the Detroit Lions on Monday night to withhold their current playoff standing.
Baltimore started the day as the incumbent No. 6 playoff seed in the AFC as Miami found themselves on the outside looking in at 7-6, held out of the playoffs by virtue of a head-to-head loss to the Ravens Oct. 6 at home. Miami has elevated their play over the last two weeks, getting season-defining wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers, virtually eliminating them from playoff contention, and the Patriots in Week 15.
The Ravens will face a tough Detroit team who is reeling, having lost three of their last four and is looking to respond to the added pressure they have after the Chicago Bears took care of business and defeated the Cleveland Browns 38-31 on Sunday. The Ravens are no strangers to pressure as they’ve found themselves on both ends of the spectrum.
This season, they found themselves a 4-6 football team three weeks ago, facing a three-game homestand where every game was deemed a must-win game. They went 3-0 and still control their own destiny as to whether or not they will participate in the NFL‘s postseason.
A team that didn’t feel like a potential 10-win club can do just that, but a tough schedule is in front of them as they face the Lions, Patriots and finish off with the AFC North Division leader in the Cincinnati Bengals in their building.
In 2012, Baltimore was 9-2 and needed one victory at the start of December to clinch a playoff berth and an AFC North title. They dropped three straight to the Washington Redskins, the Steelers and the Denver Broncos before a convincing win over the New York Giants gave Baltimore that coveted division title and playoff spot.
Head coach John Harbaugh and his team relishes the role of the underdog and being counted out before the cards are laid on the table. As long as Joe Flacco is under center, there is no reason to doubt the Ravens’ ability to win any game as they showed against the Minnesota Vikings.
As the popular Adidas advertisement says, “Nothing is impossible.” This mentality has been echoed throughout the Ravens organization since Harbaugh’s arrival in 2008.