If byes and home playoff games and all of that are so important, then the Baltimore Ravens are this era’s outlier.
Baltimore wraps up this decade (or the last one, technically) with their sixth playoff appearance. This will be the fourth time the Ravens have made it as a wild card. The other two years, of course, they went as a division champion. And that’s where things get interesting …
As a Wild Card, the Ravens are 7-2 in the playoffs. They won four games on their way to the Super Bowl title in 2000. The next year, they knocked off the Dolphins on the road in the wild-card round, before before ousted in Pittsburgh in the divisional round. And last year, they eliminated the East Champion Dolphins and top-seeded Titans before bowing, again, to Pittsburgh in the title game.
On the flip side, the Ravens have been one-and-done in both their AFC North-winning seasons. They were edged by the Titans at home in 2003, and outlasted by the eventual champion Colts in 2006 in the divisional round.
So how can this be? It seemed like earlier this week John Harbaugh wanted to make sure his team didn’t lean too much on its experience, so he wasn’t real forthcoming with the facts.
“We’ve been on the road two weeks in a row already several times this
year [and] three times in the playoffs last year, so I don’t think
that’s going to be a challenge for us,” he said. “The challenge is going to be the
opponent and ourselves and playing the best football we can play,