Ravens Pass Patriots In AFC Playoff Hunt

The Playoff hunt is heating up, which is why it's not surprising that the Baltimore Ravens have overtaken the Patriots in the hunt for top seed in the postseason. Only one team to beat now.

Ravens seeking top seed in conference

   Toward the end of their 24-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts - an outcome that had pretty much been cemented early in the fourth quarter - the Baltimore Ravens couldn't help but glance at the scoreboard.

   Two of their primary competitors for one of the top two seeds in the AFC playoffs were in play and having a difficult time. The Houston Texans trailed the Cincinnati Bengals, and the New England Patriots were just a touchdown ahead of the Washington Redskins.

   In the end, however, the Texans roared back to edge the Bengals in the waning seconds, and the Patriots held onto the victory, which meant that those two teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Ravens shared identical 10-3 records atop the conference standings.

   "It's out there, so you always see it," quarterback Joe Flacco said, acknowledging the out-of-town scores periodically posted on the scoreboards at M&T Bank Stadium. "It looked like there were a couple close games, couple of shots. Looked like Houston might go down, and they didn't. Looked like New England might go down, and they didn't. But I'm not really banking on that anyway. I'm looking at the rest of the season saying we've got to win the rest of our games."

   Baltimore took out the hapless Colts by striking a balance between the run and the pass.

   Flacco completed 23-of-31 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Ray Rice carried the ball 26 times for 103 yards and one touchdown. Overall, the offense ran 37 run plays and 31 pass plays.

   "I thought it was a good blend, absolutely," coach John Harbaugh said. "We were moving the ball, getting first downs. In the red zone early on, it was good. We got the score right away. Obviously, we were disappointed with the two short-yardage plays. It would've been good to have gotten those two (first downs). We'll have to go to work on that."

   The Ravens overpowered Indianapolis, which played like a team that had entered the contest seeking its first win.

   The Colts' offense managed just 47 total yards and four first downs in the first half and accrued less than 200 yards for the eighth time this season. The defense surrendered 17 unanswered points in the first half en route to allowing the 12th opponent to accumulate more than 300 total yards of offense.

   There are just three more games left in the regular season, but Baltimore does not need to rely on Houston, New England or Pittsburgh losing. If the Ravens win out, they would secure the top seed and a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs due to various tiebreakers.

   "Yes, this was big," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "It was win No. 10, and with an AFC opponent, we just have to keep chugging along. They are a good defense. They are having a rough year, but they still are pretty good. This is the NFL, and we just didn't want to drop one. We got to win No. 10, like I said, and we're just going to continue to work and get better. We are not satisfied at all. We are happy to be at win No. 10, but we want this thing to peak. We want to go to the highest point we can."

HOT TOPIC: Who Gets The Top Seed?

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