The Baltimore Ravens entered Week 13 as one of six teams with 5-6 records. By Sunday night, four of them went down, which is why The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck thinks the Ravens should feel thankful.
"While they sat in front of their television sets, they gained ground on almost everyone they are expected to battle for the final wild card berth if they don't end up overtaking the Cincinnati Bengals to win the AFC North title," Schmuck wrote. "There's not a thing about the fourth quarter of the regular season that the Ravens can take for granted, but they are positioned much better for the final stretch than they were just a few days ago. During this uneven and often frustrating season, Ravens fans cannot ask for much more than that."
If the Ravens truly got their way, the Bengals would've lost in San Diego. That would've closed the Ravens (6-6) to within one game of the division-leading Bengals (8-4), and it would've put the Ravens in position to win the AFC North with a sweep of Cincinnati in the regular-season finale.
Now, the Ravens have to hope the Bengals trip up over the three weeks. Cincinnati is home against Indianapolis, at Pittsburgh and home against Minnesota.
The Ravens are looking to win the AFC North for a third straight season.
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John Eisenberg, of the team's official website, thinks Steelers coach Mike Tomlin should be fined for interfering with Jacoby Jones on the 73-yard kickoff return Thursday night but he doesn't believe Tomlin did it intentionally. "I’m probably in the minority, but I just don’t think that’s his move there," Eisenberg wrote. "It makes for a great story line and I know coaches will do almost anything to get an edge, but trip a player on the field? With every flinch in games now available for close-up scrutiny in high-definition? Nah, I’m not buying it. He’s smarter than that."
Cornerback Chykie Brown, who was only in the game because Jimmy Smith suffered a concussion, was covering Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders on the failed two-point conversion that allowed the Ravens to escape with a 22-20 win Thursday night. “I knew they were coming after the guy that was fresh off the bench,” Brown told the team's website. “This was the last play that was going to win the game, and I knew they were coming my way. I knew that I was on an island with him. He’s a really good receiver, but I had to make the play to win the game.”
Rejuvenating their pass rush will be a point of emphasis for the Ravens, Comcast SportsNet's Clifton Brown writes. The Ravens didn't sack Ben Roethlisberger, and Terrell Suggs has gone four games without a sack.
The journey of defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson from being abandoned by his birth parents to being a Ravens draft pick was chronicled by The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. It's a powerful story about how Tyson became the first child to go from Joseph's Home for Boys, a long-term group home in Georgia, to college. "When you talk about it, it lifts a burden off your chest," Tyson said.