Ravens focused on finishing strong, not No. 1 playoff seed

Photo credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

OWINGS MILS — Ravens coach John Harbaugh shook his head and dismissed any talk about playoff seedings with four games left in the regular season.

Heading into Week 15, the Ravens have the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the postseason in the AFC.

However, Harbaugh downplayed putting an emphasis on playoff seedings.

“There’s no No. 1 seed,” Harbaugh said. “There’s no such thing as that right now. Just because they put a bracket on the TV screen, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s what you do, so our guys understand that we have to go earn everything we get, and if we earn it, then we’ll get it. If we don’t earn it, we won’t. So, we’re going to try to win as many games as we can, climb as high as we can.

“But really just play one play at a time as well as we can, compete as hard as we can every single play, single series, every single quarter, every single game, and that’s our focus, and that’s all we’re thinking about.” 

Ravens linebacker Kyle Van Noy (50) celebrates with linebacker Patrick Queen (6) after stripping Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium. By Tommy Gilligan-USA Today

The Ravens (10-3) are one game ahead of the Dolphins (9-4) for the top seed in the AFC. Those teams meet on New Year’s Eve in a game that inevitably will have playoff implications.

The Kansas City Chiefs (8-5) are the third seed but have the easiest schedule the rest of the way, playing only one team with a winning record — New England (3-10), Las Vegas (5-8), Cincinnati (7-6), and the Los Angeles Chargers (5-8).

The Ravens have the toughest road with games against Jacksonville (8-5), San Francisco (10-3), Miami (9-4), and Pittsburgh (7-6).

“We’re going to be focusing on doing the best we can to win that game in what we’re going to consider a playoff type of an environment and a playoff type of a game – that kind of stakes,” Harbaugh said. “So, that’s how our guys will look at it.”

The Dolphins finish with games against the New York Jets (5-8), Dallas (10-3), Baltimore, and Buffalo (7-6).

If the Jaguars (8-5) can beat the Ravens on Sunday, they’ll have a chance to steal that top seed over the final three weeks.

There are going to be a lot of twists and turns before the playoffs begin.

Even though Harbaugh is not looking too far ahead, the players would love to have that No. 1 seed.

“We want it bad. If we don’t get it, we make the playoffs,” linebacker Patrick Queen said. “We’re still in there. We still can dance, and I think that’s the biggest thing. As long as we have our spot in there, then everything else will take care of itself.” 

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