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Ravens not celebrating 'expected' playoff berth

The Baltimore Ravensclinched a playoff spot with Sunday's road victory over the Buffalo Bills, pushing their season record to 11-2. Ravens players weren't much in the mood for celebrating the accomplishment.

"I tried to make a big deal about it in the locker room, and the guys kind of gave me a smattering of applause," coach John Harbaugh said. "They expected that; I think they've earned the right to expect that."

The Ravens have believed for weeks they'd make the playoffs, Sunday's win just lined up the math with those expectations.

Baltimore can lock up the AFC North division title with a win Thursday night against the 5-8 New York Jets. Taking the division crown for the second straight season will likely be something more worth celebrating.

"We haven't done anything yet," linebacker Matthew Judon said. "Just to get in, it isn't enough. We got in last year and it wasn't enough. This game always leaves you wanting more. You got to make it to the next stage. That's what we're trying to do."

Spoken like a true veteran.

Perhaps the ugly win in Buffalo played a part in the tempered response to locking up a playoff spot.

The Ravens generated their fewest total yards (257) and fewest rush yards (118) in a game this season -- fewest total yards in a win since Week 11, 2017 at Green Bay (219). And it took a broken-up pass by Marcus Peters on the final defensive play for the D to clinch the 24-17 victory.

"We know we're fighting for a bigger goal, man," Peters said after the win. "It ain't about nobody else; it's about us. It's gonna take us to get this goal done. So, we gotta just keep harping in on, it's gonna take us one day at a time, one play at a time, one week at a time, and we're gonna get our goal."

The win coupled with the New England Patriots' loss later in the day gives the Ravens a two-game cushion in the race for the top seed in the AFC.

The first step in the process, getting to the playoffs, is complete. The next stages are much bigger for a franchise with sizable expectations: win the division, get a first-round bye, earn the top spot in the conference, win a playoff game, make Super Bowl, then hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

In Baltimore, the first step isn't something to pop champagne over. That comes later.

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