For the Ravens, it’s simple: A win against the Cincinnati Bengals, and no matter what else happens, they have a first-round bye and at least one home playoff game.
Now, if the New England Patriots lose to the Buffalo Bills, and if the Ravens win, they’ll be the No. 1 seed with home games until the Super Bowl. However, they’ll be the No. 2 seed if they win and the Patriots win.
If the Ravens lose or tie against the Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat or tie the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens will drop down to the No. 5 seed. They’d have to go on the road wildcard weekend and play the winner of the AFC West, either the Denver Broncos (8-7) or Oakland Raiders (8-7).
Meanwhile, the Ravens opponent for Sunday, the Bengals, will be playing for the conference’s final wildcard spot. Win and the Bengals are in. Lose, and they’d need some help. They would need the New York Jets (8-7) and either the Raiders or Broncos to lose or tie their games to clinch the last wildcard spot.
Let the madness begin!