The task for the Ravens is clear against the New York Giants, even if it remains a difficult challenge with their recent struggles and three-game losing streak.
Win and they’re AFC North champions for the second straight season. A loss keeps their division hopes up in the air, regardless of what happens earlier Sunday between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Both the Bengals and the Steelers have a chance to win the division while the Ravens simply need one win in their final two weeks of the regular season to guarantee the division title.
Via the three-way head-to-head tiebreaker, Pittsburgh would win the AFC North if the Ravens lose their final two games and the Steelers win their last two. The Bengals are the AFC North champions if they beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore in their final two games (with the Ravens falling in Week 16, of course).
The Ravens could still win the AFC North without winning another game should the Bengals lose to the Steelers on Sunday and Pittsburgh fall to Cleveland in the final week of the season.
Here are the AFC’s Week 16 scenarios for the Ravens as well as the rest of the conference:
**Clinched playoff spots: New England (AFC East champion); Denver (AFC West champion); Houston (AFC South champion); Baltimore (playoff spot)
BALTIMORE (vs. New York Giants)
The Ravens clinch the AFC North with:
1. BAL win OR
2. BAL tie + CIN loss or tie
HOUSTON (vs. Minnesota)
The Texans clinch a first-round bye with:
1. HOU win or tie OR
2. NE loss or tie OR
3) DEN loss
The Texans clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with:
1. HOU win OR
2. HOU tie + DEN loss or tie OR
3. NE loss or tie + DEN loss
DENVER (vs. Cleveland)
The Broncos clinch a first-round bye with:
1. DEN win + NE loss or tie OR
2. DEN tie + NE loss
INDIANAPOLIS (at Kansas City)
The Colts clinch a playoff spot with:
1. IND win or tie OR
2. IND clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over CIN OR
3. PIT loss or tie
CINCINNATI (at Pittsburgh)
The Bengals clinch a playoff spot with:
1. CIN win