The 2024 NFL playoffs are set, and everyone in the AFC knows their next opponent — except the Ravens.

Baltimore welcomes the first-round bye, of course: Many players are dealing with nagging injuries. All of them could use the rest. And more prep time is, generally, better.

But it means the Ravens will have to wait and watch the AFC’s wild-card games to find out who they play next. Once the three wild-card games are finished, the Ravens, who are the No. 1 seed, will take on the lowest-seeded team to come out of the first round.

The Ravens will not face the second-seeded Buffalo Bills or third-seeded Kansas City Chiefs because if they win, they will be higher seeds than any of the other teams. That leaves four potential opponents the Ravens could face. If the higher seed wins in every game, the Ravens will face the Houston Texans (the other two teams left would be the Chiefs and Bills).

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But everyone knows rankings don’t determine wins (hello 2019 season). The Ravens are doing their best to avoid rust as they wait out the bye round because every team they could face brings reasons for worry. But then again, the Ravens are the top seed for a reason, so we’ve also highlighted one reason you should feel good about the Ravens’ chances against each possible opponent:

No. 4 Houston Texans

Reason to worry: They might be able to stop the Ravens’ ground game.

Only one team, the New England Patriots, has had a better run defense than the Texans this season. Ranked No. 2 in the NFL, the Texans are holding teams to 3.5 yards per carry. They also rank sixth in the NFL for rushing yards allowed per game (102). A good run defense is problematic for a Ravens team whose worst rushing performance was a 102-yard game. While the Ravens have many offensive weapons, they use the ground game to open up their options.

Reason to feel good: Houston’s pass defense is nowhere as good as their run defense.

Staunch defenders on the ground, the Texans have little defense to stop an air attack. They’re ranked third-to-last in the NFL in yards allowed per attempt (7.7) and fourth from the bottom in opposing team’s completion percentage (67.6%). In the past, that wouldn’t have been that encouraging, but the Ravens’ passing game has taken a huge leap forward, in part because of Lamar Jackson’s focus on improving in the pocket. If his receivers are healthy and don’t let him down, Jackson could have a field day with their pass defense.

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How concerned should they actually be? (On a scale of 1 Concerned Harbaugh to 10 Concerned Harbaughs)

No. 5 Cleveland Browns

Reason to worry: They could blitz Lamar Jackson into submission.

The Browns’ offense has taken on many looks, but one thing that stays the same is Cleveland’s pass rush. The Browns had little trouble getting to Jackson in both games this year. This season, Jackson has done a good job at escaping pressure and extending plays, but the Browns have the skill to bring more heat than he’s experienced from other teams. In their last meeting, Jackson struggled against the blitz, going 4-for-7. The blitz also usually accompanies man coverage (which the Browns use a lot), and Jackson has been inconsistent when facing man. Jackson’s third-lowest completion percentage (56.5%) of the season came in the Ravens’ loss to the Browns.

Reason to feel good: The Ravens’ defensive strengths outmatch the Browns’ offensive strengths.

In the five games since Joe Flacco took over, the Browns have been near the top of the league in passing yards. Luckily, the Ravens have a very good pass defense and have shut down some of the league’s most dangerous wide receivers all season. And Flacco has a tendency to put the ball into harm’s way, while the Ravens have been excellent at punishing teams for those risks. Flacco’s interception rate is at an all-time high. The Browns don’t have the most inspiring run offense, and while the Ravens’ run defense is just OK recently, the Browns’ run game can’t carry the whole game.

How concerned should they actually be?

No. 6 Miami Dolphins

Reason to worry: They can beat the Ravens by running over them.

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The Ravens might lead the league in rushing yards, but the Dolphins lead in yards per carry. Against the Ravens, they only rushed 25 times, less than their typical average. Yet they finished with just 6 fewer yards on the ground than the Ravens, who rushed 32 times. They found success, in particular, on the edges. If the Dolphins really commit to beating the Ravens with their run game, it will also open up their dangerous receivers as the defense is forced to adjust.

Reason to feel good: The Ravens have the edge on the Dolphins defense.

You never feel good about players being injured, but when it comes to the Ravens’ chances of beating the Dolphins, the number of Dolphins injured certainly makes the Ravens’ future seem brighter. One of their top players, Bradley Chubb, went down in the final minutes of the Dolphins’ loss to the Ravens, as did cornerback Xavien Howard. The Dolphins have only played one game since, but it was a loss to the Buffalo Bills, where Josh Allen threw for 345 yards. They also suffered several more injuries in that game. The Ravens, meanwhile, took Week 17 to get healthy and also have a bye week. If they avoid rust, a refreshed offense could be hard for a battered Dolphins team to stop.

How concerned should they actually be?

No. 7 Pittsburgh Steelers

Reason to worry: They can beat the Ravens by frustrating Lamar again.

Nothing was going Jackson’s way that October day in Pittsburgh. When he threw a good pass, his receivers dropped it (for the first time all season). He struggled with his connections with the running backs, losing some fumbles. Then, he threw to his most reliable receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., and he got picked off by a rookie. Jackson has been better about staying cool and making smart decisions down the stretch, but he also hasn’t been pressured much because the Ravens started steam-rolling teams. The Steelers defense is great at causing havoc, and he’ll have to think one step ahead against a team that he’s struggled with his whole career (he’s 2-4 against Pittsburgh as a starter).

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Reason to feel good: The Ravens can overwhelm the Steelers’ defense.

The Steelers beat the Ravens both times by simply outlasting the Ravens’ offense. The Ravens defense held up each time, but the team suffered because they couldn’t get anything going on offense to offset the very little the Steelers did offensively. But the Ravens came close in their last meeting despite having mostly backups in. And if Jackson is in, well, he’s likely going to win the MVP — and if he can play anywhere near that level, it’s a completely different game. He also might not have to keep an eye out for T.J. Watt, who suffered a MCL strain in the Ravens’ last meeting with the Steelers.

How concerned should they actually be?

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