Ravens Have Clear Path to No. 1 Seed in Playoffs
OWINGS MILLS, Md. The Ravens are in the enviable position of controlling their destiny for the postseason.
Baltimore already qualified for the playoffs with a 24-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 14.
The Ravens can clinch the AFC North title for the second straight season with a victory over the Jets on Thursday night.
"It’s a good thing, but we have three more games and things to accomplish still," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
Baltimore is riding a franchise-best nine-game winning streak to nine straight and is 11-2, its best record in team history through 13 games.
Baltimore is also the favorite to land the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Ravens have a two-game lead over the Patriots (10-3) with three games to play by virtue of their 37-20 victory over New England in Week 9. Baltimore has a two-game lead over the Kansas City (9-4), but would lose a potential tie-breaker because the Chiefs topped the Ravens 33-28 in Week 3.
After the game against the Jets, Baltimore closes out the season at Cleveland (6-7) and hosts Pittsburgh (8-5) in the regular-season finale. The Steelers currently own the sixth seed and will likely need to win that last game to make the playoffs.
This means, the Ravens can clinch the top seed with two wins in their final three games.
“It’s great to lock up a playoff spot, but I think everyone in that locker room has aspirations to lock up that No. 1 seed,” Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst said. “You know we want that home-field advantage. We have a couple games left to play, and we’re just going to focus on those.”
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson finished with 40 yards on 11 carries against the Bills. He now has 1,017 yards rushing on the season, 23 yards shy of breaking the single season record held by Michael Vick since 2006.
Jackson has also thrown for 2,677 yards with a league-best 29 touchdowns and six interceptions. His 109.2 quarterback rating ranks fourth behind Ryan Tannehill (118.5), Kirk Cousins (112) and Drew Brees (109.5).