The Baltimore Ravens remain in great position to secure a playoff seed after beating the Cleveland Browns, 27-10, on Dec. 17 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The win advanced Baltimore’s overall record to 8-6, which is tied with the Buffalo Bills (8-6) for the sixth and final seed for the AFC playoffs. Should the season end today, Baltimore would win the tiebreaker and clinch the postseason slot.

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr (24) catches the ball for an interception in the end zone for a touchback during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Baltimore’s defense bounced back after its debacle in Pittsburgh last Sunday…

Sure, the Ravens’ defensive unit wasn’t facing anywhere near the level of offensive talent in Cleveland compared to what they faced last week when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for more than 500 yards in a 39-38 win for Pittsburgh. Instead, the Ravens had it much easier as the Browns started rookie DeShone Kizer at quarterback. Kizer is a big, mobile quarterback with a strong arm and tons of potential, but he was no match for Baltimore’s stingy defense. Kizer tossed two interceptions and was stripped-sacked for a fumble that was recovered in the end zone for a Ravens’ defensive touchdown. Baltimore forced four turnovers and held Cleveland to just 260 yards on the day.

Flacco and the Ravens’ offense remained hot in December…

Baltimore recorded 376 yards on offense, Sunday, and Flacco was dropping dimes all over the field, completing 26 of 42 pass attempts for 288 yards, a touchdown and a 90.2 passer rating. Baltimore has been red hot offensively ever since they put up 44 points on the Detroit Lions on Dec. 3. They’ve scored 109 points through the last three games. Even when they lost to the Steelers last week, the Ravens still did everything they wanted offensively in that game and scored 38 points. They only needed 27 points to win comfortably in Cleveland.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco rushes for a 2-yard touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Ravens clinched a non-losing season for the ninth time in the last 10 years…

Baltimore has only one losing season in which they finished the year with less than a .500 record since head coach John Harbaugh took the job in 2008, and that one season came in 2015 when the Ravens were decimated with injuries to several key players, including all-pro linebacker Terrell Suggs, franchise quarterback Joe Flacco and former star receiver Steve Smith Sr. Every other year it’s been 8-8 or better, and Baltimore made sure that remained the case Sunday.

Closing thoughts…

Even if the Ravens lose the remaining two games of their schedule, they’ll still break even with a .500 record at 8-8. And it’s highly unlikely they will lose those two games—they face the struggling Indianapolis Colts (3-11) on Dec. 23 and the Cincinnati Bengals (5-9) on Dec. 31, and both games are at home at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Should the Ravens win those games, they’ll finish 10-6 and would be guaranteed at least the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs.

 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor