Try as they might, the Baltimore Ravens can’t seem to remove themselves from the playoff race.
In yet another game that wound up being delayed, the Ravens lost to the Chicago Bears 23-20 in overtime, dropping their record to 4-6, keeping them in contention with, well, the rest of the AFC (minus the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans of course).
Right now, the New England Patriots have a strong hold on the AFC East and the Indianapolis Colts have a three-game lead in the AFC South. The Cincinnati Bengals have a pretty commanding lead in the North and the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs are fighting each other for the West title. Whoever loses that battle will most likely end up with the top Wild-Card spot.
So, let me see here, that only leaves the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, and Buffalo Bills fighting for that last spot. Nine teams fighting for one last spot. The Jets and Dolphins are both 5-5 at the top of that list, while everyone else is 4-6 except the Bills, who are 4-7.
In all honesty, none of those teams impress me in the least.
The Jets have a young quarterback who makes young-quarterback mistakes.
The Dolphins can’t get their act together in the lockerroom.
Pittsburgh actually has a worse rushing offense than Baltimore.
Cleveland has Jason Campbell starting at quarterback.
Tennessee lost to the Jags the other week, which is just terrible.
Oakland has the eighth-worst pass defense in the league, giving up 252.7 passing yards per game.
San Diego is even worse, allowing 275.5 passing yards per game.
Buffalo, well, they’re just Buffalo.
Baltimore has a shot, but they should have been able to beat a Chicago team without starting quarterback Jay Cutler. Instead, they made his backup Josh McCown look like Joe Montana.
If Baltimore wants that last spot, I still feel it is theirs to lose. In all honesty, they should win the next three games in a row. They have three straight home games against the Jets, Steelers, and Vikings. Seeing as their last three games are against the Detroit Lions on the road, Patriots at home, and then the Bengals on the road, these next three games are must-wins for the Ravens. If they lose any of them, you can count them out for the playoffs.
by Andy Mindzak