Baltimore Ravens Become Third AFC North Team to Clinch Playoff Spot


Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) runs with the ball in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Technically, the Kansas City Chiefs entered play today with a chance to make the playoffs.  Ditto for the San Diego Chargers.  And the Houston Texans.  The Chiefs and Texans did their parts, but it didn’t matter much, because the Baltimore Ravens spoiled all the drama by dominating the Cleveland Browns in the fourth quarter to take a 20-10 home victory.  

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In the process, Baltimore became the third AFC North team to clinch a playoff spot, joining the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, who will square off tonight at Heinz Field for the division title.

Of all the teams involved in the post-season hunt today, the outcome has to sting most for the Chargers, the only club who had direct control over their January plans.  If the Chargers had won, they would have been in the playoffs, and the story would be over. Instead, KC’s defense manhandled San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, to the tune of seven sacks for 42 yards lost and two interceptions.

The Chiefs also recovered a fumble in the Chargers’ end zone for the Kansas City’s only touchdown.

Meanwhile in Baltimore, quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Justin Forsett led the Ravens to three fourth-quarter scores that turned a 10-3 deficit into a 10-point victory.

The Ravens’ win sets up yet another AFC North showdown, as Baltimore will travel to face the winner of tonight’s Steelers-Bengals match-up.

I’ve had the Ravens as the top AFC North team in my power rankings most of the season, and their win today gives them yet another opportunity to show that they’re better than the Steelers or Bengals.

Should be a fun couple of week for fans of all three teams.