No Pressure? Ravens Must Beat Detroit And Get Help

Playoff Hopes

Losses Sunday By Jaguars, Broncos Would Narrow Gap

December 13, 2009|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

The Ravens could improve their playoff chances today, but they are going to need some help.

A 13 1/2 -point favorite over the Detroit Lions (2-10), the Ravens (6-6) are one game behind the Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5) for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC.

If the Ravens win and the Jaguars lose at home to the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens would essentially be tied with Jacksonville (though the Jaguars would still have a better AFC record by a half game).

If the Ravens win and the Denver Broncos (8-4) lose at undefeated Indianapolis, the Ravens would move within one game of the Broncos, now the No. 5 seed in the AFC.

The Ravens say there's no pressure heading into the final weeks of the regular season.

"To be honest, that's the excitement," running back Ray Rice said. "It's unfortunate that we have to take this route to get there. But if you look ahead, this can be the most exciting four weeks of our life if we take care of business. It's a journey to get to something else, and we've got four games."

Rice added: "If we'd have won against Green Bay, that would have just been a little cushion. We still would have to win the rest of our games. It's a time where we as players, coaches and everybody have to pull together and go out there and win four football games to even have a chance at making the playoffs."

The Ravens' defense might play without safety Ed Reed (groin and foot) and linebacker Terrell Suggs (knee) - both of whom are considered game-time decisions - for a second straight week. But the Lions are hurting, too. They are starting backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who hasn't won a start since 2007.

Note: : On Saturday, the Ravens signed second-year wide receiver Justin Harper off the practice squad and waived fullback Charles Ali. This could be another indication that wide receiver Mark Clayton (knee) will be out Sunday against the Lions.

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