Ravens Could Benefit From Steelers-Bengals

The Ravens could gain some separation in the AFC North with a win over Cleveland.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Saturday, December 3rd, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Categories: Garrett Downing, Week 13 vs Browns

The Baltimore Ravens are focused on the Cleveland Browns, but they also know that the AFC North race could look much different by the end of the weekend.

A win over the Browns (4-7) could go a long way in helping the Ravens’ positioning for the playoffs, especially with the Steelers (8-3) and Bengals (7-4) playing each other on Sunday.

But first, the Ravens know they just have to handle their own business.

“You just focus on the task at hand, and all the big picture stuff will sort itself out,” center Matt Birk said on Friday.

The Ravens are tied with the Texans, Patriots and Steelers with the best record in the AFC, but to get some separation in the conference, some of those teams need to start losing. The Ravens are coming off a big win last week over San Francisco, but the Steelers, Patriots, Bengals and Texans also won, so the Ravens weren’t able to gain any ground.

This weekend, however, they have a chance to separate themselves a little bit in the division.

Beating Cleveland could give the Ravens some breathing room in the AFC North, and here are the scenarios based on the result of the Steelers-Bengals game:

  • A win by Pittsburgh puts the Bengals two games behind both Pittsburgh and Baltimore, with one game remaining between the Ravens-Bengals.  This would make a chance at winning the division highly unlikely for Cincinnati, but wouldn’t knock them out of the AFC Wild Card race.
  • A win by Cincinnati would put Pittsburgh and Cincinnati both one game behind the Ravens in the division. Pittsburgh, however, would effectively be two games behind Baltimore because they have already been swept by the Ravens, so they would have to finish one game ahead of Baltimore in the standings to win the North.
  • A Ravens loss to Cleveland, however, would move the Ravens into second place in the division if the Steelers beat Cincinnati. The Ravens would then need another team to beat Pittsburgh to get back on top of the division. All three teams would be tied atop the division if the Ravens lose and the Bengals are victorious over the Steelers.

Right now the Ravens have the luxury of not needing to count on anybody else to do the work for them. And they want to keep it that way.

“We look at it like we hold our own destiny,” Ravens tight end Ed Dickson said. “If we win out, the sky is the limit. We can’t overlook any team.”

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