If you thought Sunday’s win over the Eagles was a nail-biter, get ready Ravens fans. Two games to go with the AFC North division title still up for grabs. And Baltimore still controls its own playoff destiny.
“The situation we find ourselves in is something we’ve been working really hard for since all the way back in April,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
So how do the Ravens make the postseason? The easiest way would be to win their final two games, including what should be an epic showdown on Christmas Day against the Steelers.
“Our guys have been fighting like crazy to get to the point where they have an opportunity to go to Pittsburgh, I think when we got the schedule we saw that one on the schedule. A chance to go to Pittsburgh and on to Cincinnati, to try to win a division championship. They’ve earned the right to do that,” said Harbaugh.
Baltimore enters the matchup in Pittsburgh a game behind their rivals. A Ravens win over third-seeded Pittsburgh and win in Cincinnati on New Year’s Day clinches the division for Baltimore. The Ravens could still make the playoffs as a wild card if they lose this weekend but they’d need a win over Cincy in the finale and a lot of help.
A hot-button issue stemming from Sunday’s win over the Eagles is the Ravens decision to pass late in the ballgame up ten points, on the Eagles 11-yard line. It was a decision that led to a Joe Flacco interception and let Philly back in the ballgame.
“We probably got a little greedy,” said Harbaugh. “We wanted to tack one on (score a touchdown) right there. We should’ve played it a little more conservatively. But, that’s my responsibility to do that. That’s not my aggressive playcaller’s responsibility. I want our guys to be aggressive and then I’ll take the opportunity to pull them back.”
One thing’s for sure, the Ravens can’t afford those kind of coaching mistakes over these final two games, when their playoff lives hang in the balance.
Also on Monday the Ravens announced that safety Matt Elam is their 2016 Ed Block Courage Award recipient. The award is voted on by Ravens players.
Elam returned to play in Week 9 against the Steelers after not playing in a game since the Jan. 10, 2015 Divisional Playoff at New England.
He battled back from a torn biceps and knee surgery.
Each year, the Ed Block Courage Awards honors those National Football League players who exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. This award is unique in that the recipients are selected solely by a vote of their teammates. Every fall all thirty two teams conduct a vote which results in each team selecting their Ed Block Courage Award recipient for the year.
The Ed Block Courage Award recipient symbolizes professionalism, great strength and dedication. He is also a community role model. With this honor, he enters into an association which contrasts his fierce profession by becoming a major component of the Courage House National Support Network for Kids. He becomes an Ambassador of Courage for victims of abuse, violence and neglect.
The Ed Block Courage Award recipient will be identified as a team player in helping abused children and families in crisis.
The Courage Award has become one of the most esteemed honors bestowed upon a player in the NFL, especially since the recipient is selected by his peers.