Ravens Clinch 4th Straight Playoff Trip

Prior to kickoff, losses by Tennessee and Oakland guarantee Baltimore a playoff spot.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, December 18th, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Ryan Mink, Week 15 vs Chargers

The Ravens are in the playoffs for a fourth straight season.

And they did it even before they took the field at Snapdragon Stadium.

Because of losses by the Tennessee Titans (27-13 to Indianapolis) and the Oakland Raiders (28-27 to Detroit), the Ravens automatically were in regardless of Sunday night’s result.

It’s the first time in franchise history that the Ravens have reached the playoffs in four straight years.

Considering the Indianapolis Colts’ nine-year streak will end this year, the Ravens will have the longest playoff streak in the NFL if the Philadelphia Eagles don’t make the postseason.

It’s the earliest in the season the Ravens have clinched under Head Coach John Harbaugh. They needed wins in the final games in 2008 and 2009 and got it before Week 17 last season.

The Ravens would have automatically clinched this year with a win in San Diego, regardless of the other results.

Of course, Baltimore has its sights set higher, as they will secure the top seed in the AFC if they win their final three regular-season games.

The Chargers’ playoff hopes also got a boost before the game started, perhaps even giving them more incentive to beat Baltimore.

Both teams ahead of them in the AFC West (Denver and Oakland) lost, meaning they could pull even with the Raiders and be just a game behind the Broncos with a win. Their chances also improved as the New York Jets lost to the Eagles.

Ravens and Chargers fans at Snapdragon Stadium cheered alike when the Raiders went down.

The Pittsburgh Steelers also clinched at least a wild-card playoff spot.

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