Naturally, the best team in the NFL has the first chance of the season to clinch a No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The only reason the 12-2 Ravens had to wait until Week 16 for such a clinching scenario is the fact that the 12-3 Patriots remain just a game behind in the NFL playoff picture.

Baltimore being able to secure the top seed in the AFC is one of many NFL playoff clinching scenarios for Week 16, but it's arguably the most significant. The Ravens have only one home loss this season, a fluke of a defeat at the hands of the division-rival Browns. In the playoffs, Lamar Jackson will be difficult enough for potential opponents like the Patriots and Chiefs to contain; he'll be even more of a pain at M&T Bank Stadium in January.

MORE: Week 16 NFL playoff clinching scenarios

Below are the two clinching scenarios this week in front of Baltimore, which already has clinched the AFC North title.

How Ravens clinch a first-round bye:

    Ravens win or tie ORChiefs loss or tie ORPatriots loss

How Ravens clinch No. 1 seed, home-field advantage:

    Ravens win ORRavens tie AND Patriots loss or tie ORChiefs loss or tie AND Patriots loss

The most likely scenario for the Ravens in Week 16 is one that would clinch them both a first-round bye and the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs — a simple win over the division-rival Browns.

Baltimore, which lost to Cleveland earlier this season and provided one of the most confusing game results of the 2019 season, is a 10-point road favorite in the rematch. In both our Week 16 picks against the spread and our Week 16 picks straight up, Sporting News projected a Ravens victory that would earn them the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

MORE: How Steelers can earn a wild card

The last time Baltimore earned a first-round bye in the playoffs, in 2011, it beat Houston in the divisional round before losing the AFC championship game on the road in New England. The next season, of course, the Ravens won their wild-card home game against the Colts before reeling off two road victories, the second of which avenged their title-game loss to the Pats, en route to their Super Bowl victory over the 49ers.


ow is the full playoff picture for Week 16.

NFL playoff picture

    AFCSeedTeamRecordClinched1.Baltimore Ravens12-2Division; playoff berth2.New England Patriots12-3Division; playoff berth3.Kansas City Chiefs10-4Division; playoff berth4.Houston Texans10-5Division; playoff berth5.Buffalo Bills10-5Playoff berth6.Pittsburgh Steelers8-6-

    In the hunt: Titans (8-6), Browns (6-8), Raiders (6-8)

      NFCSeedTeamRecordClinched1.Seattle Seahawks11-3Playoff berth2.Green Bay Packers11-3Playoff berth3.New Orleans Saints11-3Division; playoff berth4.Dallas Cowboys7-7-5.San Francisco 49ers11-3Playoff berth6.Minnesota Vikings10-4-

      In the hunt: Rams (8-6), Eagles (7-7)