Path to the playoffs: Which Week 13 games can help or hurt the Ravens?

For the second straight week, the Ravens held on to the AFC’s second wild-card berth. For the second straight week, it is a tenuous grasp.

The Ravens and Indianapolis Colts are the conference’s only 6-5 teams, further behind the fifth-seeded Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) than they are ahead of a foursome of 5-6 teams.


They’re a long ways from clinching anything, but the Ravens can get some separation in Week 13. Here’s where they’ll need help.

The Ravens and Falcons play Sunday in Atlanta.

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (1 p.m. Sunday, CBS)


The only thing separating the Ravens and Colts is conference record. The Ravens have won six of nine AFC games; Indianapolis is a game behind, at 5-4. As the teams head down the stretch, their opponents’ conference affiliation could take on outsize importance. In the AFC, the Ravens have the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and Cleveland Browns left. After Jacksonville (3-8), the Colts must face the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans.

Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans (1 p.m. Sunday, CBS)

According to The New York Times’ playoff simulator, the Browns (4-6-1) could win out and have an 84 percent chance of making the playoffs. A loss Sunday, and their postseason odds drop to 1 percent. Houston (8-3) has an eight-game winning streak and two-game lead in the AFC South over the Colts.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. Sunday, CBS)

The Dolphins (5-6) have won just one of their past five games but four of their five home dates overall this season. With earlier losses to the Colts and Cincinnati Bengals deciding potential wild-card tiebreakers, Miami has no room for error over its next five games. Now it gets the Bills (4-7), who are rolling on a season-high two-game winning streak.

Sunday’s opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, aren’t any better defensively than the Bengals and Raiders but Ravens officials will get a better read on the progress of Lamar Jackson, who will likely be making his first NFL road start.

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m. Sunday, CBS)

This is essentially an elimination game. A loss by either 5-6 team sends its playoff odds under 4 percent, according to the Times’ playoff simulator. With the Ravens splitting their two games against the Bengals, division record would become the tiebreaker, where they currently have an advantage (2-3 to Cincinnati’s 1-3). Given quarterback Andy Dalton’s season-ending thumb injury and the Broncos’ soft remaining schedule, a Cincinnati win best serves the Ravens’ interest.

New York Jets at Tennessee Titans (4:05 p.m. Sunday, CBS)

The Titans are barely hanging on to the frame of the playoff picture, weighed down by earlier losses to the Ravens and Dolphins. With their 5-6 record and 3-6 mark in conference play, they can’t afford another setback.

Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers (8:20 p.m. Sunday, NBC)

With a Steelers win, the Ravens could move within a game of the Chargers and their No. 5 seed — with a potentially decisive game against the Chargers in Los Angeles still to come. With a Chargers win, the Ravens could enter Week 14 just a half-game behind Pittsburgh (7-3-1) in the AFC North standings and a potential top-four seed. As if Ravens fans needed more incentive to root against the Steelers.

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