OWINGS MILLS - A day after his team's 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was matter of fact about where Baltimore stands heading into the final week of the regular season.
"It's a one game season as far as we're concerned," Harbaugh said.
The Ravens may not make the playoffs even if they beat the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday. But they need a win to at least give themselves a realistic chance.
They could make it even if they lose, but that would take the Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers all also losing.
Baltimore could also get in with a tie under two different scenarios.
But the simple fact is that the Ravens likely need a win combined with either a Dolphins or Chargers loss to extend their season.
"The guys know the scenarios," Harbaugh said. "They're not living in a vacuum, so they understand what else has to happen. But our job and our task is one single-minded purpose, to win the next game.
"Obviously we have everything at stake."
But Cincinnati still has a lot to play for Sunday as well.
The Bengals are 10-5 and have already clinched the AFC North, but they are still in the running for the AFC's No. 2 seed and a first round bye in the playoffs.
They would lock up the No. 2 seed with a win and a Patriots loss to the Buffalo Bills. However, they could finish as low as the No. 4 seed if they lose.
"It's going to be highly contested game," Harbaugh said. "It's going to be a tough fight."
It will be tough for two reasons. Cincinnati still has as much to play for as it does. Also, the Bengals are a good team that will challenge a Ravens team that is coming off the second-most lopsided loss in franchise history.
Baltimore's passing game struggled against New England and will now match up with a Cincinnati pass defense that is ranked sixth-best in the NFL. The Ravens have struggled all year running the ball. The Bengals are also sixth-best in the league against the run. And Baltimore had trouble stopping the run vs. the Patriots, and Cincinnati has two capable running backs, rookie Giovani Bernard and veteran Benjarvus Green-Ellis.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is also coming off of likely his best game of the season. He was 27 of 38 for 366 yards and four touchdowns without an interception during Cincinnati's 42-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
"I haven't watched Cincinnati enough to really comment on them other than to say that they're good," Harbaugh said. "Look at them. They're division champs. They're 7-0 at home. They've got very good players and very good coaches. What they've done this year speaks for itself, so we've got our hands full."
The Ravens' situation wouldn't have been as dire had the outcome been different against the Patriots. But this is what their situation is now. A win and Baltimore likely goes to the playoffs. A loss and Baltimore will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Harbaugh took over as coach in 2008.
"We had a good meeting [Monday] morning," Harbaugh said. "[We] went to work on the things that we have to work on. And now our attention goes to Cincinnati."