Ravens coach John Harbaugh chats with his brother 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh before the teams played their preseason opener on Thursday. (Rob Carr, Getty Images /August 7, 2014)
With just one game left in the regular season, the Ravens are in position to capture a first-round bye and a home playoff game for the first time since 2006. But the Ravens, who are competing with the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, for one of the top two seeds in the AFC, didn’t generate much enthusiasm from the NBC analysts who sit in on the network’s “Football Night in America” broadcast.”
Asked to rank those three teams, former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy said, “It kind of changes moment by moment. Right now, I’d have to say New England first, they’re on a seven-game winning streak; and then Baltimore and then Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s got some injuries.”
Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison offered a different order. “I like Pittsburgh at No. 2,” he said. “I like Baltimore at No. 3 because they can’t win on the road.”
The Ravens’ fate will largely depend on Sunday’s regular-season finale at the Cincinnati Bengals. A win, and the Ravens assure themselves of the No. 2 seed. A loss, and the Steelers can overtake them by beating the Cleveland Browns.
Harrison said the Bengals have an opportunity to pull off the upset.
“I like Baltimore, but Cincinnati has a chance,” he said. “They have to change that mentality, come out and play loose. Don’t get caught up in the moment … Come out and play aggressive, take it to the Baltimore Ravens.”
Dungy agreed. “They’ve got to stop [running back] Ray Rice,” he said. “I don’t like the way Baltimore’s played on the road.”
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