2020 NFL playoff picture: Seven fringe teams I’m not counting out – NFL.com

Current playoff positioning: No. 8 in AFC; third in AFC North.

Remaining schedule: at Steelers, vs. Cowboys, at Browns, vs. Jaguars, vs. Giants, at Bengals.

What I like: John Harbaugh’s team is known for its toughness in adverse circumstances, and it’s hard to imagine a more difficult obstacle than having your game pushed back nearly a week while losing huge chunks of your roster — including your QB, the reigning MVP — to COVID-19-related absences. Baltimore should still have a chance to play up to its potential down the stretch, as players begin to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list with potential gimme wins on tap against the Jaguars, Giants and Bengals.

What I don’t like: That the Ravens faded from the AFC North title race by dropping three of four heading into their pivotal Week 12 matchup with Pittsburgh. It was also concerning to see Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown offer public (albeit fair) criticism about the offense. While it’s justifiable to question the lack of effectiveness on deep strikes, which were such a huge part of the Ravens’ 2019 success, comments like those can indicate an even bigger internal rift with the potential to tear down a team.

Outlook: The Ravens’ best game of 2020 came way back in Week 1, when Baltimore routed Cleveland. This team has the potential to get rolling, but the fallout from the COVID-19 situation, along with struggles in recent weeks, makes that possibility a crapshoot. The first hurdle to overcome is facing Pittsburgh without Jackson this week. I could see the Ravens winning five of their final six games — but I could also see them losing five of six. It all hinges on what happens against the Steelers, who historically play them close; 19 of the 25 games these franchises have played under Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin have come down to a final margin of seven points or less.

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