Ravens, Steelers Can Clinch Playoff Spots

If Baltimore and Pittsburgh win this weekend, they will clinch a playoff spot.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Monday, December 12th, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Categories: Garrett Downing

The Ravens and Steelers can both clinch a playoff spot this weekend, and neither team needs help from anyone else.

As long as they win, they’re in.

Both teams are 10-3, and a Week 15 victory would guarantee they finish the season at least tied with the best record among the AFC wild-card contenders. The New York Jets (8-5) are the only other team in the AFC that could finish the season with 11 wins, and still not win their division. Baltimore and Pittsburgh both have tiebreakers over the Jets.

Plus, if the Ravens and Steelers both win this weekend, then that would guarantee that one of them wins the AFC North, and the other will be in line for the wild-card spot.

The Raven can also clinch a playoff spot with losses by the Jets and Raiders, losses by the Jets and Titans, or losses by the Raiders and Titans.

The Steelers can clinch a playoff spot with losses by the Jets, Raiders, Broncos or Titans.

Both teams have tough tasks ahead of them this weekend, as they’re traveling to the West Coast and playing in primetime. The Ravens are going up against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night, and the Steelers will face the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.

The Steelers are also unsure about the status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who suffered a high ankle sprain on Thursday against the Browns.

Even though a win this weekend guarantees a playoff spot, both teams are still fighting for first place in the AFC North and the homefield advantage that would come with it. The Ravens have been the wild-card selection for three straight seasons, and are hoping to bring a playoff game to Baltimore this year.

“When we are out there having fun, and M&T [Bank Stadium] is rocking, we are a very tough team to beat,” outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said after the game Sunday.

Baltimore still leads the way in the division and holds the tiebreaker over Pittsburgh, so if both teams win their final three games, the Ravens would have the advantage.

But the Ravens have little margin for error, and one loss could put them into the wild-card spot and they would once again have to go on the road in the postseason.

“We just have to keep it rolling because, as you’ve all seen through the years, championship teams, they don’t settle for what’s happening right now,” Suggs said.

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