While the Baltimore Ravens are taking the week off, there is no shortage of NFL action for Ravens fans to watch. There are many exciting games slated for this week, many of which could impact Baltimore’s playoff chances. Even when the Ravens are off the field, the stakes are high. Here are four games for Ravens fans to watch this week, that will impact Baltimore’s playoff hopes.
Saints at Bengals (1 P.M. – FOX)
The New Orleans Saints are quickly becoming the favorite to win the Super Bowl. The Saints are a test for the Bengals, that will ultimately reveal where Cincinnati falls on the spectrum of NFL teams. If the game is close, the Bengals will assert themselves as among the NFL’s best teams. But, if Cincinnati fails to keep up with New Orleans, and the score gets out of hand, Cincinnati will fall in the rankings. This game is crucial for Baltimore, as getting past Cincinnati will be a necessity for a Ravens return to the postseason. If all goes well, the Saints will win handily, pushing the Bengals to a 5-4 record.
Falcons at Browns (1 P.M. – FOX)
The Browns are on the verge of seeing all realistic paths to the playoffs collapsing. Although it is very unlikely that the Browns will be able to make the playoffs at this point, Baltimore would prefer to see Cleveland eliminated quickly. While this game could contribute to that, it is also an indicator for where the Falcons stand. Baltimore will travel to Atlanta in December in a game that may prove crucial for both teams. The Ravens need the Falcons to win but want to see a close game that exposes some of Atlanta’s weak points.
Patriots at Titans (1 P.M. – CBS)
The Titans are coming off a major victory in Dallas. With their season on the line, Tennesee was able to secure the much-needed win in a hard-fought game. The New England Patriots need to cut the celebrations in Nashville short and take down the Titans. The Titans, 4-4, are competing with the Ravens for a wild card berth, and currently, have the edge based on win percentage. (.500 vs .444) The Ravens defeated Tennessee earlier in the year, and if the Patriots drop them to 4-5, Baltimore’s tiebreaker will take effect, and push the Ravens in front of Tennessee. For the Ravens to make the playoffs over the Titans, they need to have either the same or better record than Tennesee. New England winning in a game they should will go a long way in helping the Ravens.
Dolphins at Packers (4:25 P.M. – CBS)
The Dolphins are perhaps the scariest team for the Ravens in the battle for the wild card. Baltimore has a history of trouncing the Dolphins, but Baltimore does not have the privilege of playing Miami this year. This means the Ravens will not be able to obtain a head to head tiebreaker on a team competing for the same playoff berth. The best path for the Ravens to get to the playoffs over the Dolphins is to have an outright better record than Miami. For this to happen, the 5-4 Dolphins need to start by losing to the Packers. The Packers, on paper, are the superior team, but the game could go either way. If the Dolphins fall to 5-5, it puts Baltimore in the great position to overtake them by the end of the season. If the Dolphins win, however, the Ravens are dug into a much deeper hole.