The Ravens can’t win the AFC North — but they can still a host a playoff game. Here’s how.

Published 1/5/2023 10:01 p.m. EST

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts after their 19-17 loss to Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 09, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Ravens’ playoff picture got a new wrinkle Thursday night.

With the NFL’s decision to cancel its suspended Week 17 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, the Ravens (10-6) were eliminated from contention for the AFC North title. But with a win Sunday over the newly crowned Bengals (11-4), they could still get a home playoff game.

On Friday, NFL owners will consider a resolution recommended by commissioner Roger Goodell and approved by the league’s competition committee that opens the possibility of the Ravens hosting a wild-card-round game in Baltimore.

If the Ravens beat the Bengals again on Sunday and are scheduled to face them in the postseason — their most likely matchup as the AFC’s likely No. 6 seed — the site for the game would be determined by a coin toss. If Cincinnati avoids a season sweep with a win, and the teams are still scheduled to meet in the wild-card round, the Bengals would host the Ravens again at Paycor Stadium next weekend.

The NFL’s decision comes three days after Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest in Monday’s game in Cincinnati. Doctors said earlier Thursday that the 24-year-old has shown “substantial improvement” in his recovery since collapsing on the field.

As part of the resolution, the AFC championship game also would be played at a neutral site if the conference’s finalists played an unequal number of games and both could have been the No. 1 seed.

“As we considered the football schedule, our principles have been to limit disruption across the league and minimize competitive inequities,” Goodell said in a statement. “I recognize that there is no perfect solution. The proposal we are asking the ownership to consider, however, addresses the most significant potential equitable issues created by the difficult, but necessary, decision not to play the game under these extraordinary circumstances.”

Sign Up for Alerts
Get notified of need-to-know
info from The Banner