A thrilling final 125 seconds Sunday ended with the Ravens in the win column for the third straight game and still in control of their playoff destiny.
With four wins in five contests, Baltimore is now 7-6 and over .500 for the first time since Week 5 when it was 3-2. If the postseason began today, the Ravens would be in as the AFC’s second wild card.
And their hold of that position is strengthening as weeks pass and the teams involved beat each other to clear up the playoff picture.
There are 10 teams still within three games of the conference’s sixth spot.
Here’s a glance at the standings with three weeks to go in the regular season:
6. Ravens 7-6
7. Dolphins 7-6
8. Chargers 6-7
9. Jets 6-7
10. Titans 5-8
11. Steelers 5-8
12. Raiders 4-9
13. Jaguars 4-9
14. Browns 4-9
15. Bills 4-9
Three weeks ago, the Ravens would’ve needed help if they continued on a losing path. But they haven’t, and now are in a good spot. Even though they have the same record as Miami, the Ravens hold the tiebreaker after beating the Dolphins on Oct. 6 to effectively be a game ahead. Baltimore will make the playoffs in the event of a two-way tie with Miami.
The Chargers and Jets are another game back, but the Ravens hold the tiebreaker with both - by virtue of their win over the Jets and a superior conference record to that of the Chargers. Baltimore is 6-4 against AFC teams while San Diego is 3-6.
The Titans and Steelers are two games back, and the Ravens also currently hold the conference tiebreaker with both. Tennessee and Pittsburgh are 4-6 against AFC foes.
The Ravens can’t clinch a playoff spot this week, but with a win Monday at Detroit and some help, they can potentially eliminate everyone but the Dolphins to make it a two-horse race.
Baltimore also remains alive for the AFC North title. The Bengals are still in first at 9-4, two games ahead of the Ravens. But if Baltimore picks up one game on the division front-runner in the next two weeks, the finale at Cincinnati will be for the crown and the home playoff game that comes with it. The Bengals play the Steelers and Vikings the next two weeks.
With the upper hand on so many tiebreakers, the Ravens are strongly positioned to earn a playoff spot even with a loss or two the rest of the way. But as long as they keep winning, they’ll be in.