Under the simplest of the NFL playoff tiebreaker scenarios, the Ravens need to defeat the Bengals combined with either a Dolphins loss or a Chargers loss to earn the sixth and final playoff berth in the AFC.
The Bengals have already clinched the AFC North title, but still have something to play for. They have a shot at becoming the second seed in the AFC and earning a first-round bye if they defeat the Ravens and the Patriots lose to the Buffalo Bills.
The Bengals are undefeated in seven games this season at Paul Brown Stadium and are attempting to go unbeaten at home for the first time since the 1988 season, when they made it to the Super Bowl before losing to the San Francisco 49ers team quarterbacked by Joe Montana. So, this shapes up as an especially difficult game for the Ravens after defeating the Bengals in overtime at M&T Bank Stadium earlier this season.
"As far as the tiebreakers go next week, what we really control is going out there and we've just got to win," running back Ray Rice said. "It's a huge game for us. It's probably not a huge game for Cincinnati, but we've still got to go out there and win."