Would Ravens have made expanded playoffs?

Would Ravens have made expanded playoffs?
January 7, 2014, 11:00 pm

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti (left) coach John Harbaugh (center) and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens defeated the Texans 20-13.

(Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)

Commissioner Roger Goodell is talking about the possibility of expanding the NFL playoffs. As explained by Pro Football Talk, this would mean adding one wild-card team per conference. Suppose this had been in place this season: Would the Ravens have made the playoffs as a No. 7 seed?

No. With a four-way tie at 8-8 in the AFC among the Ravens, Steelers, Jets and Dolphins, the NFL’s tiebreaking procedures would work this way: The Steelers eliminate the Ravens because they split their two games, but Pittsburgh had a better division record. The Jets eliminate the Dolphins for the same reason. Then the Steelers eliminate the Jets because Pittsburgh won their matchup this season.

In addition to adding a playoff game to pour more money into the league’s overflowing coffers, another function of the increased postseason field would be to intensify the race for the conference’s No. 1 seed. The No. 7 playoff team faces the No. 2 seed in Week 1 of the postseason. Only the top seed gets a playoff bye. That seems like an advantage well worth fighting for.

But an expanded playoffs will have to wait. Not too long, because Goodell said there is momentum for the move. At least, from the Ravens fan perspective, that momentum didn’t carry Pittsburgh into the postseason this time.