Week 13 of the 2019 NFL season went about as well as the Baltimore Ravens could have asked for. The Ravens extended their winning streak to eight games and improved to 10-2 on the season with a 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Lamar Jackson picked up 101 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the win, further solidifying himself as the clear NFL MVP in 2019.
And while the Ravens handled their business, the New England Patriots did not, falling to the Houston Texans by a score of 28-22 on Sunday Night Football. With these developments, the Ravens suddenly look like crystal clear favorites to win Super Bowl LIV. Here are the two reasons why.
1. Baltimore has already proven it can beat the best
The New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and San Francisco 49ers are a combined 29-3 against all teams that aren’t the Baltimore Ravens. Against the Baltimore Ravens, these three teams are 0-3.
Baltimore went on the road to defeat Russell Wilson and the Seahawks 30-16 back in Week 7. In their next game at home against New England, the Ravens defeated the Patriots 37-20. They followed that game up with blowouts of 49-13 over the Cincinnati Bengals, 41-7 over the Houston Texans, and 45-6 over the Los Angeles Rams before facing the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday.
And in beating the 49ers, the Ravens showed that they can win in a gritty game that doesn’t follow a perfect game script. Baltimore trailed 7-0 early and was tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter, but the team showed its toughness by pulling out a victory.
The Ravens can win pretty. They can win ugly. They beat the two best teams with the two best defenses in the NFL in the Patriots and the 49ers. Who’s going to stop them?
2. The Ravens now hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC
With their win over New England earlier this season, the Ravens earned an extremely valuable head-to-head tiebreaker over the Patriots. The two teams now have matching 10-2 records; if they finish the season with matching records atop the AFC, it will be the Baltimore Ravens who get the top seed in the conference due to this tiebreaker.
The importance of this tiebreaker can not be overstated. For as good as Baltimore has looked both at home and on the road, there would be a huge difference between playing a potential AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots at home instead of in Foxborough.
Baltimore will retain the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC if it can match New England’s record the rest of the way. The Ravens have road games against the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns and home games against the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers remaining. The Patriots have home games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Bills, and Miami Dolphins left along with one road game against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals.
Baltimore is loaded with swagger
The Ravens have been a blast to watch this season. While Lamar Jackson has stolen the headlines with his brilliant play, Baltimore’s defense has been fantastic too. Both sides of the ball are playing with confidence and swagger, and the results keep showing up on the scoreboard.
There’s still a lot of football left to be played, and plenty of regular-season darlings have fallen in the postseason. But Baltimore’s confidence is contagious, and it looks like it’s going to take a near-perfect effort from a damn good football team to upset the Ravens.