Reed: 'I'm embarrassed for the whole city'
If you ever needed an example of backing into the playoffs, we have one for you.
With the Steelers’ 27-24, overtime loss to the Cowboys Sunday night, the Ravens have clinched a postseason berth despite having lost three games in a row.
The Ravens haven’t clinched the AFC North, because the Bengals could still end up with a 10-6 record, and Baltimore would be 9-7 if it loses the final two games. However, if the Ravens finish tied with the Bengals and have split their season series, the Ravens win on the division-record tiebreaker. And though the Ravens and Steelers potentially could both finish with 9-7 records, a split season series and the same division record, the Ravens would win the conference-record tiebreaker.
In any case, even if they end up as AFC North champions, the Ravens will be playing the first weekend of the playoffs. Should the Ravens finish with two wins, they would be 11-5, and that still wouldn’t get them to a No. 2 seed in the AFC behind the Texans. The Broncos can’t finish any worse than 11-5, and Sunday’s loss to Denver means the Ravens lose the tiebreaker against them. Should the Patriots make it a three-way tie at 11-5, the head-to-head tiebreaker is negated because each team has a 1-1 record against the other two. But New England already is assured of finishing with the best conference mark, regardless of what happens in the remaining games, giving the Pats the No. 2 seed.
Got all that? What’s most important, though, is that the Ravens have displayed in December all the marks of a one-and-done playoff team, whatever their seed.