Baltimore Ravens’ Playoff Standings and Chances
Ten wins are usually enough to propel a team into the playoffs. This year in the AFC however, nine wins looks to be the magic number. Baltimore’s victory on Sunday against the Lions earned the Ravens their seventh win of the season. Heading into the final quarter of the season, Baltimore is in a strong position to finish. The final four opponents the Ravens will face are the following teams: the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cleveland Browns, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Cincinnati Bengals. Baltimore will be favored in at least two of these matchups (Browns and Colts). The games against the Steelers and Bengals will be toss-ups. Either team could win. Playing it conservatively, we can estimate that the Ravens will win the two games they are supposed to and lose the two toss-up games. If this scenario were to happen, Baltimore would finish the season with a 9-7 record.
The Baltimore Ravens currently own the sixth wildcard seed and have four main competitors fighting for it. They are the Los Angeles Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills, and the Oakland Raiders. ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight estimates that the Ravens have an 85% chance of making the playoffs. FiveThirtyEight gives the Chiefs a 62% chance, the Chargers a 29% chance, the Raiders a 16% chance, and the Bills a 15% chance. The Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders are all in the same division, the AFC West. Therefore, the Ravens will only have to worry about two of these squads, as one has to win the division.
The Baltimore Ravens have a very good chance at making the playoffs because the teams behind them are going to have a tough time catching up to Baltimore. The Bills, fresh off a loss to the Patriots, will have to meet New England again. The Bills would need to defeat the Colts and Dolphins twice to get to nine wins and have a shot at the playoffs. This is a difficult task for any team, but especially the Bills. Buffalo has not played very well recently. The team started the year 5-2 but lost the next four of five to fall to 6-6. Meanwhile, in the AFC West, the Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders, all have to face each other one more time. Unless all of the games end in a tie, someone has to be the winner. This means that it is likely that at least two of the teams will suffer their seventh loss. One of these teams must win the division as well, so only two teams will have any chance of usurping the Ravens. The Chargers currently have the momentum in the division, as they have won their last three games after starting the season with a 3-6 record. The Chiefs have done the complete opposite. Kansas City started the season 5-0, but lost the next six of seven, falling to a 6-6 record. The Raiders also seem to be rebounding, as they started the season 2-4, but have climbed to a 6-6 record.
The Baltimore Ravens will travel to Pittsburgh next week to face the Steelers in a Sunday Night brawl. According to FiveThirtyEight, a win in Pittsburgh would increase Baltimore’s odds of making the tournament to a staggering 97%. A loss, however, would only drop the Ravens down to an 80% chance. A victory in Pittsburgh would all but punch Baltimore’s ticket to the playoffs, while a loss would do little to no harm.