The Ravens might’ve missed a chance to clinch the AFC North or a playoff spot a week ago, but they’ll get another opportunity Sunday against the Redskins.
At 9-3, Baltimore can secure the division title with a win and a Steelers loss to the Chargers and a Bengals loss to the Cowboys.
The Ravens can clinch a playoff spot with a win and either a loss or tie by Pittsburgh or Cincinnati. They also can wrap up a playoff spot with a tie, a Steelers loss and a Bengals loss.
Baltimore is seeking its fifth consecutive trip to the postseason, and that has the likes of fifth-year quarterback Joe Flacco taking it for granted.
“Probably. A little bit,” he admitted. “Since I’ve been here, I haven’t been around a team that hasn’t been in the playoffs or is still competing to be in the playoffs at this point in the year. We’ve always been in it and right in the thick of things and really fighting for a spot, and it’s no different this year. So I’m sure that we do take it for granted a little bit. But that’s not a bad thing.”
The easiest way to make it five years in a row would’ve been to beat the Steelers last week. That didn’t happen, shrinking the division lead to two games and putting it well within reach with four games to go.
But do the Ravens feel like the Pittsburgh and the Bengals are gaining on them?
“You’re never comfortable with your position in this league, because when you are at the top, there is only one place you can go, which is down. It’s our job to try to stay up there,” tailback Ray Rice told reporters. “We still have some great football left. I think the greatest thing about our schedule going ahead is that we don’t have to travel far. We get to be right in our backyard. I know this isn’t a home game, but it’s only 30 miles apart, and then we have two at home, and our last one is in Cincinnati.
“Not having to travel far, being able to be in our building, getting our bodies right, getting guys healthy and playing good football right now - that’s what matters.”