The Ravens have dropped three in a row, their AFC North lead has dwindled to just one game and they need a win against the New York Giants today - or a Cincinnati Bengals loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers - to avoid a one-game showdown for the division next week in Cincinnati.
A loss to the Giants would also eliminate Baltimore from contention for one of top two seeds in AFC and - combined with a New England Patriots win against the Jacksonville Jaguars - would mean the Ravens could finish as no better than the No. 4 seed in the AFC.
But New York enters today's matchup with the Ravens in an even more dire position.
Less than two months ago, the Giants were 6-2 and held a two-game lead in the NFC East. Since then, however, they've dropped four of their last six games and a loss to Baltimore today would eliminate New York from contention for a division title and put the defending Super Bowl champions a game back of the final wild-card spot in the NFC heading into the final week of the regular season.
"I really have not given their playoff position one iota of thought. It's important for us to win this game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We have a job to do, and we need to be the best team we can be on Sunday."
Baltimore started 9-2, but has since dropped three in a row. Joe Flacco and the offense continue to be erratic - Flacco and the passing game in particular - while the team's injury-ravaged defense has struggled against the run, proven vulnerable against the pass and been inconsistent at applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Ravens suffered what players described as an embarrassing 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos last week, a game during which Baltimore trailed 31-3 heading into the fourth quarter.
"Every Sunday better be an urgency," Ravens safety and leading tackler Bernard Pollard said. "We've dug a hole. We can't complain. We did it. ... And as a team, we've got to come together and we've got to fix it."
Flacco appears to have favorable matchup against what has been a porous New York pass defense, but he's in the midst of a stretch during which he's been limited to 188 yards or less in six of Baltimore's last 11 games, including three of the last five.
He finished with 254 yards and two scoring passes against the Broncos last week, but was just 16-of-34 for 148 yards with no touchdowns and two turnovers during the first three quarters.
And while the Giants are ranked just 28th in pass defense, and just 22nd in rush defense, they have two of the NFC's premier pass rushers in defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora and are third in the NFL in takeaways (34).
Pierre-Paul and Umenyiora have combined for 38 sacks during the last two seasons.
The Ravens' offensive line has surrendered 15 sacks in the last five weeks and Flacco's lost fumbles in each of the last three games. Flacco has six turnovers - three interceptions and the three lost fumbles - the last three weeks.
But the Giants and their passing game have had problems as well.
After throwing for an average of 301 yards in New York's first seven games, Manning's thrown for an average of just 212 yards in the Giants' seven games since.
He's coughed up 10 interceptions in the last eight games and has finished without a touchdown pass in four of those eight games.
The Giants' offense has been limited to 17 points or less in three of their last five games while their defense has yielded a combined 61 points the last two weeks.
New York fell to the Atlanta Falcons 34-0 last week, handed its first regular season shutout since 1996.
"It's hard for me to say what situation that Baltimore is in," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "I'm still stuck on our situation, and ours has been a year of inconsistency where we look as if we can play against anybody, and then we stub our toes. When we do that, we seem to, like last weekend, we embarrass ourselves. ... We are just trying to achieve a high level of play at this time of the year because it's so absolutely critical for us at this time to be in a position here in our last two games."
LEWIS WON'T PLAY: Ravens Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis won't play against the Giants.
Lewis remains on injured reserve under the team's designated to return tag and the NFL Network reported Saturday that Lewis isn't expected to play in next week's regular season finale against the Bengals either, although it's still possible Lewis could return for the playoffs.
Lewis is still recovering from the torn triceps he suffered against the Dallas Cowboys in mid-October, an injury that typically takes four to six months to heal. Lewis has practiced each of the last three weeks.
McCLAIN PUT ON IR, HAMILTON PROMOTED: Baltimore placed inside linebacker Jameel McClain on injured reserve Saturday and promoted outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton from the practice squad to the active roster.
McClain suffered a spinal cord contusion against the Washington Redskins two weeks ago, an injury that head coach John Harbaugh announced earlier in the week would sideline McClain for the rest of the season.
Hamilton was on Baltimore's practice squad for the first 14 weeks of the regular season. He spent training camp and the preseason with the Dallas Cowboys after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent out of Prairie View A&M.
The 6-foot-3, 251-pound Hamilton had 20.5 sacks as a senior at Prairie View A&M, breaking the Southwestern Athletic Conference single-season record of 20 held by current Indianapolis Colts standout Robert Mathis.