The Ravens’ 47-42 road win over the Cleveland Browns will go down as one of the most thrilling games in franchise history. But in the scope of the 2020 season, it was a crucial victory as the team attempts to squeak back into the AFC playoffs.
After Week 14, the Ravens (8-5) have jumped up one spot to eighth place in the race for the seven AFC playoff berths. While the team remains outside the playoff picture, Monday’s game against Cleveland was by far its toughest remaining game on the schedule. The Ravens close the regular season with home games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Giants, and then a road finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. The three teams have a combined record of 8-30-1. An 11-5 finish won’t guarantee a playoff berth, but would improve their chances greatly.
ESPN’s NFL Football Power Index gives the Ravens an 86% chance of making the playoffs.
Here’s who the Ravens are vying with in the conference for a wild-card berth:
Buffalo Bills (10-3), third seed
The Bills haven’t clinched a playoff spot yet, but their Sunday night win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs gives them a two-game lead in the AFC East. Buffalo is seemingly more in play for the No. 2 seed than a wild-card spot.
Remaining games: at Denver, at New England, vs. Miami
ESPN FPI chance to make playoffs: 99.8%
Tennessee Titans (9-4), fourth seed
The Titans’ win over the Jaguars kept them in first place in the AFC South over the Indianapolis Colts by virtue of their superior division record. Tennessee holds the tiebreaker edge over Baltimore for a wild-card spot because of its head-to-head victory.
Remaining games: vs. Detroit, at Green Bay, at Houston
ESPN FPI chance to make playoffs: 92.9%
Cleveland Browns (9-4), fifth seed
The Browns could have virtually locked up a spot in the playoffs and sunk the Ravens’ chances with a win Monday night. But they’re still in a good position to get to the postseason for the first time since 2002. Cleveland will have any tiebreaker edge over Tennessee and Indianapolis because of its head-to-head victories, but no edge over Baltimore after getting swept in the season series. The Browns also wouldn’t hold a tiebreaker edge over the Las Vegas Raiders, who they lost to in Week 8.
Remaining games: at New York Giants, at New York Jets, vs. Pittsburgh
ESPN FPI chance to make playoffs: 82.2%
Indianapolis Colts (9-4), sixth seed
The Colts remain in second place in the AFC South, but Sunday’s win over the Raiders bumped them up one spot to the sixth seed. And because of the victory, the Colts hold any tiebreaker edge over the Raiders for a wild-card spot. Baltimore has the tiebreaker edge over Indianapolis because of its head-to-head victory.
Remaining games: vs. Houston, at Pittsburgh, vs. Jacksonville
ESPN FPI chance to make playoffs: 84.5%
Miami Dolphins (8-5), seventh seed
The Dolphins’ loss dropped them to the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC. Any road to the postseason for Miami likely means securing a wild-card spot.
Remaining games: vs. New England, at Las Vegas, at Buffalo
ESPN FPI chance to make playoffs: 30.9%
Las Vegas Raiders (7-6), ninth seed
The Raiders’ loss to the Colts was not only significant in potential tiebreaker scenarios, but it dropped the team behind the Ravens in the AFC standings. Like the Ravens, Las Vegas will likely need to win out and get some help to get back into the playoff picture.
Remaining games: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, vs. Miami, at Denver
ESPN FPI chance to make playoffs: 20.4%
New England Patriots (6-7), 10th seed
The Patriots have head-to-head victories over the Ravens and Raiders, but for any of that to matter, New England will have to win its remaining games and get a lot of help.
Remaining games: at Miami, vs. Buffalo, vs. New York Jets
ESPN FPI chance to make playoffs: 3.3%