The Ravens are not going to apologize for the way they win games.
It’s not always pretty, but it’s effective.
With a 17-9 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16, the Ravens clinched a spot in the playoffs with two games remaining.
The team has a formula for success — running the football and playing solid defense.
And now, they just have to stick to that plan.
“I feel like this is a high-character team,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “[Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti often says, ‘Character is always rewarded in the end.’ I feel like in games like this, you see that character rewarded because they put the work in every single day, [and] they never bat an eye. Yes, they get frustrated, they get disappointed, they want things to go smoother sometimes, but they stick together, bottom-line, and they work really hard.
Without much to report on the pass-catching front, @zip_jim muses on…
— Russell St. Report (@RussellStReport) December 22, 2022
“To see them rewarded with an early clinch in the playoffs, heck yes. That’s something very notable and to be excited about.”
Baltimore ran for 184 yards and didn’t allow a touchdown in the key 17-9 victory over the Falcons. While the Ravens are in the playoffs, there is still much at stake over the final two weeks of the season.
“It’s huge for us,” safety Chuck Clark said about the playoffs. “We got to finish out the regular season strong and we know we got one more guaranteed game. That’s all we wanted though, is to get one more guaranteed [game] and keep moving from there.”
They trail Cincinnati by one game in the AFC North, but the teams will meet against in the regular-season finale. However, the Bengals did the Ravens a favor by beating New England on Saturday, which allowed them to clinch their postseason berth.
The Ravens beat Cincinnati 19-17 in Week 5 and currently own the tiebreaker thanks to a better AFC North record. They’re 3-1, while Cincinnati is 2-3. If the Ravens win their final two games, they’d finish 12-5 with a 5-1 division record. Should Cincinnati beat Buffalo in Week 17 and then fall to Baltimore in the finale, they’d be 12-5 with a 3-3 division record.
“You know that’s what we play the game for, to be one of those teams that make it to the playoffs,” linebacker Roquan Smith said. “That’s where the chase to the Super Bowl starts, you know, getting to the playoffs. Just one game at a time, you know, that’s great. Happy to be in there. Just got to keep chopping away.”
The Ravens play their other AFC North rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Week 17. Baltimore won the previous meeting 16-14 three weeks ago in Pittsburgh.
The Bengals have a huge matchup with the Buffalo Bills that will help decide playoff seeding in the AFC. It’s a critical game for both teams and they’ll treat it like a postseason matchup.
The Ravens could get a boost if quarterback Lamar Jackson returns to the lineup. He has been out since being injured on Dec. 4 in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos.
Backup Tyler Huntley has done a solid job managing the offense, but he’s not Jackson. If the Ravens have their star quarterback back for the postseason, practically anything could happen.
The Ravens know how to win and each victory becomes even more crucial this time of year.
“Lamar is working very hard to get back,” Harbaugh said. “The trainers are working very hard to get him back. I’m optimistic in so many ways, but focused on our team and the next gameplan with who we have, really.”
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