Baltimore Ravens No Longer Control Their Playoff Destiny Heading Into Week 17

Joe Flacco

Mitch Stringer-USA Today Sports

The Baltimore Ravens had a huge opportunity in front of them headed into their Week 16 matchup against the New England Patriots. Unfortunately, the Ravens laid a huge Christmas-sized egg at home losing 41-7. A win for the Ravens would given them a chance to win the AFC North with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals next week. That will no longer be the case as the Bengals wrapped up the division with a 42-14 over the Minnesota Vikings combined with the Ravens loss. For the Ravens, it’s now the No. 6 seed or nothing. The Ravens still have a realistic shot of getting into the playoffs, but they no longer control their destiny.

Along with the Ravens, the Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers are all still alive for the last spot. The Steelers have the most unrealistic path, as they’ll need a win combined with losses from the other three teams. The Dolphins are currently in the final wild card spot despite losing to the Buffalo Bills in Week 16. Because of the Ravens, Dolphins and Chargers being in a three way tie, the main tiebreaker becomes best conference record which is currently held by the Dolphins (7-4). Basically the Ravens head to head win over the Dolphins would be irrelevant in a three way tie scenario.

What needs to happen for the Ravens to get into the playoffs is simple — a win against the Bengals and either a Dolphins or a Chargers loss. The Dolphins will play at home against the New York Jets and the Chargers will play at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. There is no scenario where the Ravens can get into the playoffs with a loss to the Bengals. It’s sickening to have to count on other teams, but it isn’t out of the question for either the Dolphins or Chargers to lose. We’ll see what happens next Sunday.

Dan Abeshouse is a Baltimore Ravens Writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danabeshouse82, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google

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