So, it all comes down to this.
Well, sort of. The Ravens could win on Sunday in Cincinnati and still not make the playoffs.
And, oddly enough, the Ravens could lose on Sunday and still make the playoffs.
Talk about weird, huh?
There are lots of reasons why the Ravens pulling out a win on Sunday isn’t all that crazy of a thought. This Ravens team has a 5-for-5 playoff run on the line. In fact, a couple of years ago they went to Cincinnati with the AFC North crown on the line and beat the Bengals. They’ve been there, done that, in the Queen City.
The Bengals are 7-0 at home this season. That’s rare air for ANY team in the NFL. Since 2008 – Harbaugh’s first year in the league – how many teams in the league have gone undefeated at home in the regular season? That’s five seasons in the books, with 32 teams having the chance to go 8-0; 160 opportunities in total. How many? Try a total of SEVEN. And, this season, the Bengals and Patriots are the only teams entering week 17 with a chance to make it eight or nine, as they’re the only teams left who are 7-0 at home.
Are the Bengals really THAT good? They’re gonna go 8-0 at home? Something only really, really good teams have accomplished since 2008.
Unfortunately, yes, they are.
Unless the Ravens can figure out a way to shut down A.J. Green, this isn’t going to end well for our purple feathered friends.
Yes, Jimmy Smith and the defense put the clamps on Calvin Johnson a couple of Monday’s ago. True. But that Lions team is a below .500 wanna-be. This Bengals team is 10-5 for a reason. They’re pretty decent, even if they only have a 3-5 road record.
Hate to say it, but I just can’t see the Ravens winning this one.
They’ll put up a fight, because games against AFC foes are rarely blow outs these days. A fight, though, won’t get them in the post-season unless Miami and San Diego both lose. By the way, don’t discount the possibility of that happening. Those teams are both 8-7 for a reason. It’s a coin flip – like it is for the Ravens – every Sunday with those two.
I’ll call this one 26-16 in favor of the Bengals.
And I’ll have more to say on the season as a whole next week, once the playoff dust settles this Sunday afternoon.