Patriots still have uphill playoff battle despite huge win over Ravens

The Patriots took down the Ravens on Sunday Night Football to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Finally, the New England Patriots and their fans can rejoice for a moment without having to listen to the critics. Though they defeated the New York Jets last week to snap a four-game losing streak, nobody viewed that win as impressive since it took an epic comeback and walk-off effort.

But a 23-17 triumph over the Baltimore Ravens, who are one of the AFC favorites? Yup, the Pats will take that and run with it, especially since both sides of the ball played relatively well and didn’t commit any costly errors. Cam Newton got the job done with his arm and legs. Damien Harris was a revelation. Rex Burkhead got into the end zone twice. The defense pretty much kept Lamar Jackson in check.

A win is a win, but it’s important to realize the weather greatly helped the Pats on Sunday night. On top of that, while their playoff hopes are technically still alive now that they’ve climbed to 4-5, there are nine teams in the AFC with a better record than them at the moment, and most have a two-game lead. With remaining games against the Cardinals, Chargers, Rams, Dolphins and Bills, there’s no easy road to the postseason.

Enjoy these highlights as we talk about the situation.

What a play! Jakobi Meyers threw a dime there…

But seriously, their only two “gimme” games are against the Texans (next week) and the Jets (Week 17). Aside from the Bills and Dolphins, the Patriots don’t have any matchups against opponents that would help them flip the playoff picture, even in this extended field.

The Steelers are 9-0. The Chiefs are 8-1. The Bills are 7-3. The Dolphins, Raiders, Ravens, Browns, Colts and Titans are all 6-3. New England is going to need some help in addition to having to take care of their own business.

Would you look at this! A Cam Newton touchdown run! We love those, don’t we?

Picture perfect. When that play is executed properly, it’s one of the best to watch. And the celebration?! Please. Don’t get us too excited.

We don’t mean to dampen the mood. We want to feel good. The Patriots should feel good. This was a tremendous morale-boosting win. But everyone must realize that there’s a ton of work to be done. We already know Bill Belichick realizes that, which is why he’s probably diving into film within the hour.

Enjoy the win. Get ready for a week (finally) with little-to-no distractions. But don’t lose sight of the big picture.