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.
Losing games they should have won cost the Ravens the past couple of seasons. If they miss the playoffs again in 2018, they'll look back at Sunday's loss in Cleveland as an unforgivable missed opportunity.
When Lamar Jackson was taken No. 32 overall in the draft this year, Ozzie Newsome acknowledged they were “building for the future” with the Heisman Trophy winner. But, he added, “In order for us to win this year, we need Joe Flacco.”