The Ravens' road toward a potential sixth consecutive trip to the postseason just became a lot more difficult following the Miami Dolphins' upset victory Sunday over the New England Patriots.
The Ravens (7-6) now have to win Monday night's game over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field to maintain their tiebreaker edge over the Dolphins (8-6) for the sixth and last playoff berth in the AFC.
The Ravens still hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Dolphins for the second wild-card spot in the AFC by virtue of their road victory over Miami earlier this season.
However, the Ravens are currently a half-game behind the Dolphins in the playoff standings having played one less game. If the Ravens lose to the Lions, though, they would fall a full game behind the Dolphins with two games remaining in the regular season.
And the Ravens have upcoming games against two first-place teams in the Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals. If the Ravens win out, they are assured of claiming the sixth playoff seed.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins have remaining games against the Buffalo Bills (5-9) and New York Jets (6-8).
Because the Bengals (9-5) lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-20, Sunday night, there are now scenarios where the Ravens can win the AFC North division title.
That would require either finishing with a record better than the Bengals' or earning a head-to-head tiebreaker over them through completing a sweep of the season series.
If the Ravens win Monday night, they would be just one game behind the Bengals with two games to go. If the season were over today, the third-seeded Bengals would host the sixth-seeded Dolphins.
The Ravens are on a three-game winning streak, as are the Dolphins, in what's shaping up as an extremely tight playoff race.
Under coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens have never failed to qualify for the postseason during his previous five seasons since being hired in 2008.