The Baltimore Ravens have a challenging task this Sunday if they hope to get back to the playoffs for the sixth straight year. In order to accomplish that feat the Ravens must beat the Cincinnati Bengals and have either the Miami Dolphins or San Diego Chargers lose. Assuming the Ravens can get in they’ll have three possible opponents to play in the first round — the Bengals, New England Patriots, and Indianapolis Colts.
The Bengals wouldn’t be an ideal matchup for the Ravens because that would involve the Ravens having to beat them two weeks in a row at Paul Brown Stadium where the Bengals haven’t lost a game all year. Although if the Ravens win they could likely drop the Bengals to the No. 4 spot, assuming the Colts also beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at home.
The Patriots wouldn’t be that bad of a draw for the Ravens. Sure the Pats beat the Ravens down pretty bad last week, but the Ravens aren’t scared of going to Foxboro where they’ve already beaten the Pats twice in the playoffs and probably should have won there in 2011 as well. Basically I couldn’t imagine the Ravens laying another stink bomb like that if they had to play New England again. Of course this scenario could only happen if the Patriots lose at home to the Buffalo Bills in Week 17.
The most likely and most ideal matchup would be the Colts. The Colts have been wildly inconsistent this season, they don’t have much of a running game, and the loss of Reggie Wayne has hurt the offensive production for the team. Out of the three options, the Colts are definitely the best matchup of the three. Of course all of this will be a moot point if the Ravens don’t win in Week 17 and get a little help.
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