Breaking down Ravens’ final seven games: What are the playoff implications, and which games could be flexed?

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks about the injury to DT Michael Pierce and the play of quarterback Lamar Jackson against the Bengals.

The Ravens began the second half of their regular-season schedule Sunday with a 49-13 blowout of the winless Cincinnati Bengals. The team is riding the stellar play of quarterback Lamar Jackson on a five-game win streak and has placed itself in the hunt for a first-round bye with a 7-2 record.

The team enters a four-week stretch against teams with winning records before ending the season with AFC North divisional games against the Cleveland Browns (3-6) and Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4).


Here is a breakdown of the Ravens’ remaining schedule, as well as the likelihood of some of the team’s matchups being flexed to prime time:

Week 11: Houston Texans, Nov. 17, 1 p.m.

Analysis: Sunday’s matchup pits two of the league’s brightest young quarterbacks, Most Valuable Player candidates and top teams in the AFC in a showdown that could have large playoff implications. The Ravens lead the Texans by one game for the No. 2 seed in the AFC. Having already lost to the 6-4 Kansas City Chiefs, a defeat on Sunday would place the Ravens in an uphill battle for a first-round bye and could tighten the race in the AFC North.


Chance of being flexed: Not happening. NFL rules state that the league must announce any changes to the schedule no later than 12 days before the game is set to be played.

Week 12: Los Angeles Rams, Nov. 25 (Monday Night Football), 8:15 p.m.

Analysis: The Ravens’ second prime-time game of the season takes them across the country for a Monday night matchup against last year’s NFC champion, the Los Angeles Rams. Last season, the Ravens went to Los Angeles on a short week for a Saturday night game against the Chargers, coming away with a 22-10 victory. Cornerback Marcus Peters, whom the Ravens acquired from the Rams in October, will also face his former team for the first time.

Chance of being flexed: League rules prohibit Monday night games from being flexed to Sunday night. The NFL has already flexed 49ers-Packers into the Sunday night slot for Week 12.

Week 13: San Francisco 49ers, Dec. 1, 1 p.m.

Analysis: The Ravens open the last month of the regular season on a short week to host the 49ers, who on Monday were given their first loss of the season by the Seattle Seahawks. San Francisco has achieved success this season in a similar fashion as the Ravens, with one of the league’s best running games and a top defense leading the way.

Chance of being flexed: Of all the remaining Ravens games that can be flexed, this matchup has the greatest draw. However, the current “Sunday Night Football” game is the New England Patriots visiting the Texans. A duel featuring the league’s premier organization and one of the league’s best young quarterbacks isn’t the type of game the league would look to flex out, but there’s a chance the Ravens’ game could be moved to the late afternoon at 4 p.m. Rams at Cardinals is currently the 4 p.m. Fox game.

Week 14: @ Buffalo Bills, Dec. 8, 1 p.m.

Analysis: The two most highly scrutinized quarterbacks coming out of the 2018 draft meet for the first time, as Jackson faces Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Allen, like Jackson, has proven to be a serious threat as a runner in his young career. The Bills currently hold the No. 5 seed in the AFC and will need a win to fend off the multiple teams looking to slide into one of the two wild-card spots.

Chance of being flexed: The game features two teams in AFC playoff contention, and Jackson has quickly risen to be one of the NFL’s young stars, but a matchup with two of the league’s smaller markets likely wouldn’t have as much pull. The current Sunday night matchup is the Seahawks at the Rams. It’s unlikely the league flexes out a game with an MVP candidate in quarterback Russell Wilson, as well as one of its top markets in Los Angeles.

Week 15: New York Jets, Dec. 12 (Thursday Night Football), 8:20 p.m.

Analysis: The Ravens’ final scheduled prime-time game of the season sees them welcoming the New York Jets for “Thursday Night Football.” The game has lost a bit of its luster; former Ravens and current Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley is dealing with a groin injury that places his return in question, and the Jets are angling toward a top pick in the 2020 draft. The game’s importance remains, however. The Ravens have performed well against lesser competition, going 4-1 against teams with losing records this season.

Chance of being flexed: League rules prohibit Thursday night games from being flexed to Sunday night.

Week 16: @ Cleveland Browns, Dec. 22, 1 p.m.

Analysis: The Ravens head to Cleveland, getting their chance to avenge a 40-25 Week 4 loss that, to date, is still their worst defeat of the season. The early loss put both teams at 2-2 but their seasons have since gone in opposite directions. The Ravens have won five straight games, while the Browns dropped four in a row before beating the Bills last Sunday. Cleveland’s second-half schedule consists of many sub-.500 teams. They could play their way back into wild-card contention by this time, making the game an intriguing matchup.

Chance of being flexed: Slim. The current Sunday night matchup is Chiefs at the Chicago Bears. Kansas City might be fighting for a first-round bye, while Chicago could be trying to keep its playoff hopes alive. Plus, Chicago is one of the nation’s biggest TV markets.

Week 17: Pittsburgh Steelers, Dec. 29, 1 p.m.

Analysis: The Ravens cap the 2019 regular season by hosting their archrivals. When they escaped Pittsburgh in October with an overtime victory, dropping the Steelers to 1-4, the likelihood of this game containing major playoff implications appeared slight. But the Steelers have won four straight and currently hold the No. 6 seed in the AFC. With Pittsburgh sitting only two games behind in the AFC North standings, this game could potentially decide the division if the Ravens falter down the stretch and the Steelers’ winning ways continue.


Chance of being flexed: The NFL waits until all Week 16 games have concluded to flex the Week 17 matchup that has the largest postseason ramifications. A Seahawks-49ers rematch also falls on Week 17, and a matchup that potentially decides the NFC West, as well as a first-round bye, could prove to be a more enticing draw.


Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 13

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