"I vowed to myself and to my wife that we could not take a trip to Hawaii until after I went to the Pro Bowl," Ravens DT Brandon Williams said in a statement after being named a Pro Bowler for the first time. "Honey, pack your bags!”
Leading the AFC North for the first time since Week 6, the Ravens (9-6) can claim the division Sunday for the first time since 2012 with a win at home Sunday in their regular-season finale over the Cleveland Browns (7-7-1) or a loss by the Steelers (8-6-1) to the visiting Cincinnati Bengals (6-9).
After a 22-10 win Saturday over the Los Angeles Chargers and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss Sunday to the New Orleans Saints, the Ravens (9-6) could win the AFC North and earn the No. 4 seed even without a win in Week 17 over the Cleveland Browns.
It is the unwritten rule that almost everyone seems to accept as fact: If John Harbaugh’s Ravens do not make the playoffs, he will be fired as head coach. That might be true, but with a caveat: If the Ravens get into the playoffs and lose ugly in the first round, Harbaugh could be fired, too.
Maybe Jimmy Smith is being humble or would prefer that his play do his talking. Either way, the Ravens cornerback is trying to stay out of the limelight and avoid questions about his improved play in recent weeks.
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.