How realistic is it that the Ravens can make it into the playoffs with a 9-7 record?
Perhaps, not as far-fetched as the media has led you to believe.
Here is a scenario. In this scenario I am predicting a Ravens’ loss to Pittsburgh and wins against the Lions, Bears and Raiders ending 9-7 and a record of 7-5 in the Conference which is the second tie-breaker after Head to Head competition.
Let’s consider the other teams vying for a dance card…
Denver currently at 8-4 and still having to face Indy, Oakland, Philly and K.C. more than likely will finish 2-2 in those games and a final record of 10-6. Put them in at the #5 seed.
Jacksonville currently at 7-5 still has to face Miami, Indy, N.E. and Cleveland. Jax is the team most likely preventing the Ravens to get in the playoffs at 9-7 in the #6 seed but it is not unrealistic to imagine the Jaguars losing to Indy and N.E. to finish at 9-7. Currently they are 6-2 in the Conference and if they lose to Indy and N.E. and beat Miami and Cleveland, they finish in the conference 8-4 and beat the Ravens’ 7-5 record in a Conference tie-breaker.
So acknowledging this scenario, the Jaguars must lose another game. Miami in Jax this weekend would be the best opportunity. Jax would have to lose to Miami, Indy and N.E. which certainly is not out of the question but Miami would have to come up big. This scenario gives the Ravens the #6 seed at 9-7 relative to Jax.
Pittsburgh currently at 6-6 still faces Cleveland, Green Bay, Baltimore and Miami. In my assumption, I say Pittsburgh beats us in Pittsburgh so they would have to lose to another team. That team most likely needs to be Green Bay. The way Green Bay looked Monday night, I think that is quite possible and being that they play Green Bay in 2 weeks, Green Bay should still have a reason to field a team and play the game. With Pittsburgh winning 3 of 4, they finish at 9-7 and 7-5 in the Conference. In the tie breaker scenario, the Ravens and Pittsburgh tie in record, face to face competition and conference record. The third tie breaker is common games. In this scenario, common games are Chicago, K.C., Oakland, Minn, Green Bay, San Diego, Detroit, Denver as well as AFC North games which are irrelevant because they push at 3-3 each. Assuming Pittsburgh and Baltimore go 3-1 in the final four games with Baltimore losing to Pitt and Pitt losing to G.B., Baltimore wins the common game tie breaker by going 9-5 in common games and Pitt going 7-7.
NY Jets being 6-6 still face Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Indy and Cincy. They are currently 5-5 in the conference so they can’t afford to lose another conference game so they would have to win 3 of their final 4 games including wins against Indy and Cincy to finish at 9-7 and 7-5 in the AFC. In the common games, we share N.E., Indy, Cincy and Oakland. The Jets would be 4-1 in the aforementioned scenario while the Ravens would be 1-4 so under this scenario, the Jets win the tie-breaker. The Ravens would need the Jets to lose to either Indy or Cincy, subsequently finishing 6-6 in the Conference for the Ravens to beat the Jets in via the Conference tie breaker.
Miami being 6-6 and 4-4 in the AFC Conference face Jacksonville, Tennessee, Houston and Pittsburgh. So in order for the whole scenario to work, as mentioned in the Jacksonville scenario, Miami must beat Jacksonville to make elimination of Jax possible. Assuming Miami beats Jax, Miami would have to go 2-1 against Tenn, Houston and Pittsburgh to finish 9-7 which puts them at 7-5 in the Conference. I think this would be difficult for Miami to go 3-1 in these final 4 games but if they do then it is the Common Game tie breaker. Common games between Miami and the Ravens are Indy, San Diego, N.E. and Pittsburgh. If Miami beats Pittsburgh then the Ravens and Miami are both 2-3 in this five game set of common opponents. Remember Miami plays N.E. twice and the Ravens play Pittsburgh twice. The next tie breaker is strength of victory. It is too early to accurately figure this out right now but I find it unlikely that Miami finishes 3-1. That said, just hope they beat Jax.
Finally, Tennessee and Houston at 5-7 could still finish at 9-7 but Tennessee can only do as well as 5-7 in the conference and Houston can only do as well as 6-6 in the conference so they are irrelevant in the Ravens 9-7 scenario.
New England would need to win the win the AFC East straight up and not fall behind either Miami or the Jets and end up at 9-7 because the Ravens would lose the head to head to the Pats. To our advantage, N.E. looks like they will have to play to the end and will hopefully clean up for the Ravens by beating Jax in week 16.
Amazingly 9-7 is still available for the Ravens with Jax and Denver the two teams most likely to negate that possibility.
And yes I get the whole “one and done” scenario but in my world, “one and done” beats the hell out of “none and sun”.