Ravens: Win and We're In

The Baltimore Ravens know the score; win Thursday night and then again in week 17 and they're going to the playoffs at the expense of the AFC East. But, winning on Thursday is no longer a certainty with their matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.

Coach John Harbaugh indicated the Ravens have moved on from Sunday's emotional 13-9 loss to the Steelers.

Harbaugh said he has reviewed the game-winning touchdown -- which was ruled a score after a replay review by referee Walt Coleman -- and did not want to elaborate whether he thought the ball had broken the plane.

"The fact of the matter is my opinion doesn't mean anything," Harbaugh said. "It's our responsibility to take care of the Baltimore Ravens, and it's (NFL vice president of officiating) Mike Pereira's job to make sure we get quality officiating in the NFL. We got to do a better job of coaching our team, and we got to do a great job that we make the plays that we need to make to win a game like that. That's what we'll concern ourselves with."

The Ravens' main focus is on winning their last two regular-season games. If they win at Dallas and beat Jacksonville at home, the Ravens would clinch a wild-card berth.

The Ravens currently share the same 9-5 record with three teams, the Jets, Dolphins and Patriots.

If the Ravens win their last two games, they would finish 11-5, including 8-4 in the AFC. If Miami and New England both end with 11-5 records, the Ravens would earn the playoff berth over the Dolphins (because the Ravens beat them earlier this season) and the Patriots (because the Ravens would have the better conference record).

The Ravens don't have to worry about the Jets finishing with an 11-5 record because New York would clinch the AFC East with that mark and not figure into the wild-card race.

So, the crux of this situation for the Ravens is: Win and you're in.

"One of the things I'm going to tell my young guys is that we have to keep going," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "There's two more games left, we can go in 11-5. You deal with what you deal with. The bottom line is your motivation cannot change. You take a loss just like you take a win -- strap it up, short week, let's go to Dallas."

The biggest injury concern is cornerback Fabian Washington, who has been one of the team's top players in the second half of the season.

Washington, who pulled a hamstring on the final play of the third quarter and did not return, said it was too early to tell whether the injury would prevent him from playing Saturday night against Dallas.

"It's sore right now," said Washington, who added a game-high three pass deflections for a team-leading total of 17 and recorded five tackles before the injury. "It just got tighter. If I don't have my hamstrings, that's my whole game -- speed. And I felt like I'd be hurting more than helping."

Harbaugh seemed more confident that Washington would bounce back.

"We expect Fabian to be OK," Harbaugh said. "He'll be working on it."

Harbaugh, though, wasn't as certain about running back Ray Rice, who missed his first game of the season with a bruised leg.
"We'll see," Harbaugh said. "We're hopeful."


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