As you can probably tell by the name of this article, I will be guiding you through the best and worst case playoff scenarios for the Baltimore Ravens. Based on their play this season, I am also predicting the outcomes of the games they play if they make it that far. This is my opinion, with uses of factual data to make the best judgment. Currently Baltimore sits at the #5 seed, the first Wild Card spot in the AFC. It is week 17 and on New Year’s Eve the Ravens will play their final regular season game against the Cincinnati Bengals, who the Ravens shut out in week 1, 20-0. Kickoff is slated for 4:25 pm from M&T Bank Stadium.
Scenario #1: Baltimore comes into their home stadium with momentum and grit after last week’s hard-fought contest against the Indianapolis Colts. They beat the Bengals handily by a score or two and clinch a playoff berth. But somewhere else in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills succumbed to a smokin’ Jay Cutler resurgence and fell to the Miami Dolphins. Elsewhere, the Tennessee Titans may have saved Mike Mularkey’s job by defeating division winner Jacksonville Jaguars who have nothing to play for this week.
Baltimore keeps the #5 seed and moves on to Wild Card Weekend (where John Harbaugh-led Ravens teams have never lost) to take on Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs. The home of the Chiefs, Arrowhead Stadium, is notorious for being one of the loudest in the NFL and it shows on multiple false start penalties for the Ravens. But with the stout run defense able to slow down upstart rookie Kareem Hunt to a crawl, the Ravens force Alex Smith to take it to the air. Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill abuses the Ravens secondary but they make an adequate enough halftime adjustment to beat the Chiefs 30-27 on a last-second FG by phenom Kicker Justin Tucker.
The Tennessee Titans faced the Jaguars on Wild Card Weekend and got decimated in every sense of the word. The Jaguars defense, after being rested in week 17, was suffocating. The Jags ended up winning 30-7 and will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.
That leaves the Ravens with a trip to Foxborough to take on the #1 seed New England Patriots. The Ravens have consistently given Bill Belichick and Tom Brady headaches in January, but the Ravens don’t have the consistency or leadership this time around to stun the football world. The Ravens offense is not able to get it going and the absence of Jimmy Smith is noticed as they wind up losing in the cold 28-13.
Thats where their season ends.
Scenario #2: The Ravens drop the ball on Sunday against the Bengals, quite literally. Breshad Perriman’s last play as a Raven was a dropped pass in the end zone that would’ve won the game. Baltimore loses quick enough to watch the Bills and Titans both win, successfully edging them out of the playoffs. Baltimore hasn’t made the playoffs since 2014 and with this failure, even at 9-7, the John Harbaugh era has ended in Baltimore.
Photo Credit: CBSSports.com
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