Ravens Eliminated From NFL Playoffs After Loss to Steelers; No Remaining Scenarios or Chances
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: John Harbaugh
Sunday Afternoon Update
After a difficult season filled with injuries to their starting quarterback Lamar Jackson, several running backs and seemingly their entire secondary, the Baltimore Ravens have officially been eliminated from playoff contention.
It’s hard news for Ravens fans. Baltimore were well positioned at 8-3 to win the AFC North as late as Dec. 3, and simply making the playoffs weren’t high enough expectations.
But, Jackson has missed every game since then, and the Ravens ended the season on a six-game losing streak as a result.
Baltimore had an opportunity to make the postseason on Sunday had they beat the Steelers, the Colts lost to the Jaguars (which happened), the Dolphins lost to the Patriots and the Chargers lost to the Raiders.
It’s the first time the Ravens have missed the playoffs since 2017 — before the Lamar Jackson era.
The Baltimore Ravens have the lowest probability to sneak into the NFL playoffs following Week 18, but at least they have a chance.
The playoffs seemed like a foregone conclusion after a 5-1 start with Lamar Jackson squarely in MVP conversations. However, injuries piled up — including to Jackson — and a current five-game losing streak has Baltimore clinging to a prayer.
A lot has to go right for Baltimore to qualify as the No. 7 seed in the AFC.
Start with a win over the Steelers, add in a Chargers loss to the Raiders, a Colts loss to the Jaguars, plus a Dolphins loss or tie against the Patriots, and the Ravens are in. But it seems Baltimore’s streak of consecutive years in the postseason will end at three.
Injuries are often an excuse, but they might qualify as a reason for the Ravens.
Jackson has started only 12 games, leaving Tyler Huntley to start three and journeyman Josh Johnson another. Starting running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards tore their ACLs on back-to-back days, as did cornerback Marcus Peters in the preseason. Starting tackle Ronnie Stanley underwent ankle surgery in October and missed the rest of the year. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey was lost in December.
And that’s just to name a few.
Baltimore will close as a relatively significant favorite against Pittsburgh in Week 18 (find real-time NFL odds here), but the rest of the help the Ravens need will be tough. The Dolphins are 6.5-point underdogs to the Patriots. The Chargers are 3-point favorites on the road against the Raiders. But the big one is Jacksonville — the Jags have just two wins this season and are 15-point underdogs at home against the Colts.