Win or lose, the Ravens have a chance to make the playoffs today. But after a punchless first half on offense and unfavorable current scores of games connected to the race, Baltimore is one half away from being eliminated from the postseason.
The Ravens haven’t missed the playoffs since going 5-11 in 2007, the year before coach John Harbaugh was hired.
But the Ravens are losing 17-6 to the Bengals, the Steelers are up 14-0 on the Browns and the Jets lead the Dolphins 14-7.
If those three results were to hold, Baltimore would not be able to make the playoffs with a loss. And there have not yet been any signs that the Ravens are capable of winning football today.
Joe Flacco continues to get beaten up and is just 11-for-18 for 65 yards. The team has supported their courageous quarterback with just 33 rushing yards and 90 total yards in the first half. That won’t cut it against the NFL’s fifth-ranked defense.
The Ravens had a brilliant opportunity to start fast, as Corey Graham and James Ihedigbo intercepted Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton on the first two defensive possessions of the game. But Baltimore couldn’t move the ball enough, even when starting at the Bengals’ 21, and had to settle for two field goals.
The defense has been unable to stop Dalton since the second interception, as he ended the first half 12-for-19 for 155 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. A.J. Green has three catches for 60 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown.
Baltimore has allowed 213 yards and since the Bengals’ second drive, forced just one punt.
So the Ravens will need almost a complete reversal if they want to keep their postseason hopes alive. The positive on the flipside is the Dolphins are losing. So if Baltimore can get in a groove and pull this one out, it will secure a playoff berth with a Miami loss.