It’s the Ravens’ time to reach Super Bowl with home-field advantage

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens earned home-field advantage on Sunday by beating the Cleveland Browns. Now, it’s time for them to use it to get to the Super Bowl.

By dismantling the reeling Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon, the Baltimore Ravens have improved to an outstanding 13-2 on the season. This gives Baltimore home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs this year, as they have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the New England Patriots, who can only finish 13-3. Baltimore has a shot at being 14-2 this season but is the AFC top dog.

The Ravens will host the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17. While Baltimore has nothing to gain by playing its starters in this rivalry game, Pittsburgh is still fighting for its playoff life. Surely, the Ravens would love more than to end the Steelers’ season at home. But what we’re really concerned about is if Baltimore can use this home-field advantage wisely to reach the Super Bowl.

Since moving to Baltimore in 1996, the Ravens have played in and won two Super Bowls. Those victories came in 2000 and in ’12. However, Baltimore didn’t have home-field advantage in either of those playoff runs. The Ravens had to beat Rich Gannon and the Oakland Raiders in ’00 in the Bay Area and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Foxborough in ’12.

This Ravens team looks every bit the part of a future Super Bowl championship team. That being said, there is a ton of pressure that comes from having a conference’s route to the Super Bowl run through your building. You are everyone’s biggest target and you will get everybody’s best shot in January. Are the Ravens ready for this?

By having home-field advantage, the Ravens will face the worst team advancing from Wild Card Weekend in the AFC Divisional Round. That would likely be the AFC South champion Houston Texans or a wild card team like the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens can’t be overly excited about facing either of them. Other teams like Pittsburgh Steelers or the Tennessee Titans could be challenging.

After that, Baltimore would probably face the winner of the presumptive AFC Divisional Round game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Patriots up in Foxborough. Those two teams played in the AFC Championship game only a year ago in Arrowhead. Kansas City is one of two teams to beat Baltimore this season, albeit very early in the year.

While the Ravens are clearly the best team in the NFL this regular season, they will be in unfamiliar territory when it comes to being the team to beat in the AFC this January. Baltimore is cooking with napalm since October, but one bad half could sink this Super Bowl LIV favorite. It’s their Super Bowl to lose. They just need to win two more at home to get to Hard Rock Stadium.

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