Imperfect ravens face perfect scenario: Have control over AFC No. 1 seed

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens may not be the AFC’s best team, but they have been the best at figuring out ways to win.

Their wins include: two quarterback comebacks from double-digit deficits, a record-breaking field goal in Detroit and a last-minute winning drive by a backup quarterback in his first start.

The latest unlikely victory came Sunday night when Baltimore defeated the Cleveland Browns, 16-10, despite Lamar Jackson throwing four interceptions. The last time an NFL quarterback won when he threw four interceptions was in 2013 when Jackson was a junior in high school.

As a result, the Ravens (8-3) are back at the top of the AFC with six games left. But can the Ravens beat the biggest odds they face and hold on to the No. 1 seed?

“We have control over our own destiny, which is a beautiful thing,” said Raven’s tight-end Mark Andrews. “We have to get better in every aspect, but we have anm03 bunch of fighters on this team. Like I said, we think we trust each other and we come to work every day, to get better, just to try to be the best team we can be. I think if we do that during these weeks – especially these division matches – we will reap the benefits. “

Baltimore took over the top spot after Tennessee (8-4) lost to the New England Patriots (8-4). Recent history says it will be hard for the Ravens to stay there. In the last 10 seasons, only two teams – the 2014 New England Patriots and the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs – finished with the No. 1 seed after having that spot with six weeks left of the regular season.

Baltimore’s remaining schedule is formidable and includes two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, road games in Cleveland and Cincinnati and home games against the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams.

The only time the Ravens came into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed was in 2019, where they steamrolled their way to a 14-2 mark. Baltimore dominated teams so poorly that it was common to see Jackson sit out in the fourth quarter.

This season, the Jackson and Ravens have been sitting on the edge of their seats toward the end of the fights. Baltimore gathered from 11 points down the fourth quarter to increase the Chiefs in Week 2 and then came back from 16 points down in the fourth against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5. The Ravens needed a historic 66-yard field goal to get out of Detroit Lions in Week 3.

A week ago in Chicago, quarterback Tyler Huntley filled in for a sick Jackson and led a winning run in the final minute of the game. On Sunday night, the Ravens defense shut the Browns down to allow Baltimore to overcome Jackson’s career-worst four interceptions.

Baltimore has won six games with one score in a row (within eight points), matching the longest winning streak in those close games in franchise history. The Ravens did the same in 2012, the year of their last Super Bowl title.

“We’re not perfect, but we’re struggling to get there,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh told his players in the locker room on Sunday night. The good news is that we’re on the road to winning. I do not know exactly what it was. I do not know how to describe it exactly. But we all know what it was – it was a “W.”

According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the No. 1 seed (which is the only team in the conference to say goodbye) is on the rise. The best chances of capturing the top spot are: Titans (24.1%), Ravens (22.3%), Patriots (19.8%) and Bills (17.9%).

But Baltimore has outperformed all season. Few would have predicted that the Ravens would have a better record than the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans after losing All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle), All Pro cornerback Marcus Peters (knee) and their two best runs backs in JK Dobbins (knee) and Gus Edwards (knee) for season-ending injuries.

“We are determined. We know we will win,” Jackson said. “We’re fighting adversity and we’re doing it all. A lot has happened throughout this season, and [Sunday] was another part of it. We just have to keep doing what we do and we’re going to click. “

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