The Baltimore Ravens will make the playoffs this year. There, I said it. It kind of felt weird at first saying it, but now that I’ve said it a few times, I’m kind of getting used to that thought.
One might think that it should be a foregone conclusion, considering they are the reigning Super Bowl champs, but if you’ve watched them play this year, you will know otherwise.
Currently the Ravens sit behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North at 3-4 while the Bengals are 6-2. There is no way Cincy does not win this division. Baltimore’s only hope for January football is the Wild-Card.
We can figure the New England Patriots will take the East, the Indianapolis Colts will take the South, and either the Kansas City Chiefs or Denver Broncos will take the West (but either way, both of those teams are making the playoffs).
That brings us to the final Wild-Card spot. Everyone else in the East is terrible. The New York Jets are 4-4 but a terrible 4-4 in my book. The Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills are a lost cause. The South could have been interesting with a resurgent Tennessee Titans, but they have fallen back down to earth, and the Houston Texans could be one of the most underperforming teams I’ve ever seen.
Baltimore’s own division has the Cleveland Browns (always terrible) and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are not themselves this year. The Ravens only real competition is the San Diego Chargers out in the West, but that’s most likely not going to happen.
The good news for San Diego is that they are 4-3, a full game better than the Ravens in the Wild-Card standings.
The bad news is their remaining schedule. They have to play both Denver AND Kansas City twice, hosting the Bengals on December 1, and they also face tough games against Washington and Miami on the road.
Also, their quarterback is Philip Rivers, and let’s just say he’s not necessarily known for being level-headed. I see the Chargers going 4-5 the rest of the way to finish at 8-8.
Baltimore on the other hand has a much more manageable schedule. They play Cincinnati twice, but I see them splitting that series. They come off their bye this week against Cleveland, and then on November 17 they play the Chicago Bears without Jay Cutler. With games against the Steelers, Jets, and Minnesota Vikings upcoming, the Ravens have a shot to go 5-1 over their next six games before the finish up against the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, and Bengals. I see them going 1-2 in those final three games, but that will put them at 9-7 on the year and good enough for a spot in the playoffs.
How do you see Baltimore’s season turning out?
by Andy Mindzak