Ravens coach John Harbaugh talks about the Patriots' trickery and the unsuccessful wildcat play.
After a punishing 23-17 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday night, a Ravens team that entered the season with very real Super Bowl aspirations sits below the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC and finds itself among a logjam of contenders for a wild-card playoff berth.
The Ravens dropped to the third and final wild-card spot in the AFC — the NFL expanded the playoffs this season to seven teams in each conference — but are one of six teams with a 6-3 record. They’re set to face one of those teams this weekend in the Tennessee Titans, and their second-half schedule still holds rematches with the Steelers (Nov. 26) and Cleveland Browns (Dec. 14).
ESPN’s NFL Football Power Index still gives the Ravens a 93.6% chance of making the playoffs, but the postseason is no longer a given with another round of injuries that have surfaced and a crowded playoff picture.
Here’s who the Ravens are vying with in the conference.
Buffalo Bills (7-3), third seed
An improbable Hail Mary from Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins dropped the Bills to just a half-game lead in the AFC East while keeping the third seed. Buffalo is still in the driver’s seat to capture its first division title since 1995, but key matchups against the Steelers in Week 14 and Miami Dolphins in Week 17 could determine whether it receives a first-round game at home or on the road.
The Colts are the fourth seed and lead the AFC South by virtue of their 34-17 win over the Titans on Thursday night. Indianapolis has several conference games remaining with playoff implications, including a rematch with Tennessee and matchups with Pittsburgh and the Las Vegas Raiders. The Ravens beat the Colts, 24-10, on Nov. 8, so if there is a head-to-head tiebreaker between the teams, the Ravens would get the edge.
ESPN FPI chance to make playoffs: 67.1%
Las Vegas Raiders (6-3), fifth seed
It’s probably too much to ask the Raiders to make up the ground in the AFC West, but they’re the only team that has beaten the Chiefs and are on a three-game winning streak. Las Vegas lost to the Bills in Week 4 but beat the Browns in Week 9, a big win over a team that’s on the outside of the playoff picture. A rematch with Kansas City looms this weekend, along with games against the Colts and Dolphins in December.
ESPN FPI chance to make playoffs: 73.2%
Miami Dolphins (6-3), sixth seed
The Dolphins are on a five-game winning streak, part of it orchestrated by rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has won his first three starts in the NFL. Miami has three very winnable upcoming games against the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals before a tough four-game stretch that will likely decide its season (vs. Chiefs, vs. Patriots, at Raiders, at Bills).
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The Titans' loss to the Colts on Thursday night, coupled with the results from the weekend, dropped them out of the playoff picture. But Tennessee can keep pace in the AFC South and jump back into a wild-card spot with a win against the Ravens on Sunday. A rematch with Indianapolis and a matchup with Cleveland follow for a team that’s still in the mix to win its division or a wild-card berth.
ESPN FPI chance to make playoffs: 66.3%
Cleveland Browns (6-3), ninth seed
The Browns' win over the Texans kept them in the running for a wild-card spot, but Cleveland’s losses have hurt them as much as any team in the AFC playoff picture. All of their losses — Ravens, Raiders, Steelers — are to teams above them in the standings. Cleveland still has rematches with the Ravens and Steelers remaining, along with another pivotal AFC matchup against the Titans.