Ravens could be formidable postseason foe thanks to defense

December 21, 2017 GMT
Graphic shows NFL team matchups and predicts how they’ll fare in Week 16 action;
Graphic shows NFL team matchups and predicts how they’ll fare in Week 16 action;

There are some folks in the AFC who shudder at the thought of facing the Ravens’ defense in the playoffs.

That’s understandable, given Baltimore’s propensity for takeaways (league-high 33) and its turnover margin (plus-17). That the offense is substandard tends to get ignored a bit, particularly if Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley and Matthew Judon are in an opposing quarterback’s face all day.

Should the Ravens (8-6) win out, something they have a very strong chance of doing by facing Indianapolis on Saturday, then Cincinnati to close the schedule, they could be a formidable foe in January.


Baltimore is 58-20 at home during the regular season in coach John Harbaugh’s 10-year run, including 15-7 in December. The Colts (3-11) are one of the league’s worst teams, ravaged by injuries and insufficient talent. They are 1-6 on the road.

Baltimore (No. 11 in AP Pro32) is a 10 1-2 point choice over Indy (No. 30). Could be a shutout.

RAVENS, 22-3


The Saints came through for those still alive, and the best team we have left is CAROLINA.

No. 14 Seattle (plus 3 1-2) at No. 13 Dallas

Cowboys are coming on, Zeke is back, Seahawks are reeling.


No. 31 New York Giants (plus 3 1-2) at No. 22 Arizona

Not with a lot of conviction, but we have to pick one ...


No. 18 Green Bay (plus 8 1-2) at No. 3 Minnesota, Saturday

Vikings touting idea of playing in as well as hosting Super Bowl.

VIKINGS, 30-16

No. 9 Atlanta (plus 5 1-2) at No. 6 (tie) New Orleans

Winner clinches playoff berth, adds strength to its NFC South standing.

SAINTS, 30-27

No. 28 Tampa Bay (plus 10) at No. 6 (tie) Carolina

Dangerous Panthers are in playoffs with victory.


No. 5 Los Angeles Rams (minus 4) at No. 16 Tennessee

Titans playing at their worst just when they need to be good.

RAMS, 26-17

No. 8 Jacksonville (minus 5) at No. 23 San Francisco

Jaguars secure AFC South, but Jimmy G makes it tight.

JAGUARS, 20-17

No. 21 Miami (plus 9) at No. 10 Kansas City

AFC West belongs to Chiefs, despite midseason hiatus.

CHIEFS, 23-16

No. 17 Los Angeles Chargers (minus 8 1-2) at No. 24 (tie) New York Jets

AFC wild card still in reach, though Chargers need help.


No. 15 Buffalo (plus 12) at No. 1 New England


Last team Bills needed to see while still in wild-card contention.


No. 2 Pittsburgh (minus 7 1-2) at No. 27 Houston, Monday

Santa’s gift to Steelers fans: more Terrible Towels to wave.


No. 20 Oakland (plus 7) at No. 4 Philadelphia, Monday

Santa’s gift to Eagles fans: home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs.

EAGLES, 30-26

No. 12 Detroit (minus 3) at No. 26 Cincinnati

Bengals have mailed it in, Lions still in chase.

LIONS, 27-13

No. 24 (tie) Denver (plus 3 1-2) at No. 19 Washington

Broncos have won two straight. They were against Jets and Colts.


No. 32 Cleveland (plus 7) at No. 29 Chicago

We know what you want. Pro Picks got it right in Week 15 of 2016. Sorry ...

BEARS, 16-10


2017 RECORD:

Last week: Against spread (8-6-1). Straight up (13-3)

Season Totals: Against spread (104-102-9). Straight up: (141-81)

Best Bet: 9-6 against spread, 10-5 straight up.

Upset special: 9-6 against spread, 9-6 straight up


For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL