- Patrick Smith/Getty Images
- Heading into the late-afternoon games on Sunday, four teams were still alive for the final two playoff spots in the AFC.
- The Baltimore Ravens seemed like a lock for one of the spots up until the final minute, but were eliminated in dramatic fashion.
- The Ravens’ loss saved the season for the Buffalo Bills.
The Baltimore Ravens seemed like a lock to make the NFL playoffs in the AFC and then they were not. Then it looked like they were a lock again, and then they were eliminated. That was just one part of a crazy final four hours in the hunt for the final three playoff spots.
Heading into the late-afternoon games, four teams were still alive for the two AFC Wild Card spots. The Ravens had the easiest path, and a 94% chance to make the postseason as they only needed a win at home over the Cincinnati Bengals or a loss by either Buffalo Bills or the Tennessee Titans. Then chaos happened.
The Bills won their game easily. The Titans’ game was closer, but they eventually held on for a win to clinch one of the spots. The Ravens were in trouble early, but came back to take a lead in the fourth quarter. Things seemed to be going their way, but the Bengals scored a long touchdown in the final minute on a fourth-down play and the Ravens were suddenly eliminated and the Bills were in.
That chaos was captured in this chart by Brian Burke of ESPN, who tracked the playoff probabilities of the four AFC contenders throughout the late-afternoon games.
Suitable for framing, Bills fans: pic.twitter.com/v6SrV4Bsgg
— Brian Burke (@bburkeESPN) January 1, 2018
Bills fans will indeed want to frame this one.