The NFL will release all of this week’s playoff scenarios sometime within the next couple of days, and at that time, we’ll know the exact circumstances which will allow the Ravens to clinch a postseason berth this weekend.
But we already know this very simple fact: if the Ravens win at San Diego this Sunday night, they’re in the playoffs.
A win over the Chargers would get Baltimore to 11-3, and, as pointed out by ESPN, the Jets are the only team that can reach 11 wins but not win its division. That means a victory this Sunday would lock up at least a wild card spot for the Ravens.
There are scenarios which would allow the Ravens to secure a playoff spot even with a loss at San Diego, but we’ll have to wait and hear from the league on those specifics.
On a completely different topic (there’s really no smooth transition here), kicker Billy Cundiff battled through a left calf injury yesterday to boot a 36-yard field goal and three extra points in the Ravens’ win over Indianapolis.
There is still some reason to be concerned with Cundiff’s injury, however. The ailing calf started to act up during the game, leading the Ravens to have punter Sam Koch handle the kickoff duties in the second half.
Cundiff missed the final two days of practice leading up to the Colts game, and the 2010 Pro Bowler said he wasn’t completely sure he’d be able to play as the weekend approached.
“It was really close, actually,” Cundiff said. “This time of year, most guys aren’t playing healthy anyway. For me, I would say I’m 75 percent, maybe 80, if I’m lucky, the first couple kicks. As we went through the game, it just wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but it’s good enough for me to kick field goals. For me knowing that, I get through with kickoffs and I think that given a little bit of time, I should be back to normal, hopefully for the next game as far as kickoffs.”
Cundiff said that he didn’t feel like the calf injury (which is to his plant leg) would have affected him on field goals at all, and he was able to connect on kicks from as far back as 52 yards in warm-ups.
Kickoffs - normally Cundiff’s forte - were a different story, however. After sending the opening kick of the game 6 yards deep into the end zone, Cundiff’s next three kickoffs went just 1 yard deep, to the Colts’ 5-yard line and then to Indy’s 2-yard line.
Koch’s lone kickoff in Cundiff’s stead was pretty solid; the punter was able to boot it down to the Colts’ 2.
The hope is that with some rest, Cundiff will be able to get back close to full strength and handle kickoffs down the stretch. As for how the injury came about, Cundiff says he has no clue.
“It just came up on Thursday out of nowhere,” Cundiff said. “I have no explanation, no idea (how it happened). I’ve had little things here and there the last two seasons that I’ve dealt with that I’ve never missed practice or games for, but this is the first time that I’ve had something that has legitimately affected me to the point where I couldn’t practice.”