Seven ways Ravens can clinch playoff spot

December, 23, 2013
12/23/13
9:30
AM ET
The Baltimore Ravens (8-7) are one of four teams contending for the last wild-card spot in the AFC, along with the Miami Dolphins (8-7), San Diego Chargers (8-7) and Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8).

Of the possible scenarios in the final week of the regular season involving these teams, there are seven that would result in the Ravens reaching the playoffs:
  1. The Ravens win at the Bengals; Dolphins win at home against the Jets; Chargers lose at home to the Chiefs; and the Steelers win at home against the Browns.
  2. Ravens win, Dolphins win, Chargers lose and Steelers lose.
  3. Ravens win, Dolphins lose, Chargers win and Steelers win.
  4. Ravens win, Dolphins lose, Chargers win and Steelers lose.
  5. Ravens win, Dolphins lose, Chargers lose and Steelers win.
  6. Ravens win, Dolphins lose, Chargers lose and Steelers lose.
  7. Ravens lose, Dolphins lose, Chargers lose and Steelers lose.

Basically, the Ravens win a two-team tiebreaker against the Dolphins (because they won at Miami earlier this season) and Chargers (better conference record than San Diego). But the Ravens would lose a three-team tiebreaker with Dolphins and Chargers (because Miami has a better conference record than Baltimore and San Diego).

The only way the Ravens can get into the playoffs with a loss is if the other three teams lose. Under that scenario, you first break the division tie with the Dolphins and Jets (New York gets this based on division record). The Ravens would then win a three-way tie with Jets and Chargers based on conference record.

The nightmare scenario for Ravens fans is if Baltimore, Miami and San Diego all lose and Pittsburgh wins. That means the Steelers would knock out the Ravens in the four-way tiebreaker based on division record and edge out the Chargers and Jets based on conference record. This is the only way the Steelers can make the postseason.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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