OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens didn't have to worry about a slate of other NFL games over the weekend.
Baltimore took down Indianapolis 23-16 on Saturday and controls its own destiny to earn a trip to the postseason for the first time since 2014.
The Ravens (9-6) have won five of their past six games and are playing their best football of the season. Baltimore currently occupies the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs, but still might need a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) in the regular-season finale to clinch that berth.
As a result, the players and coaches are embracing that "must-win" scenario. The team is not concerned about style points. The Ravens will travel to Kansas City in the wild-card round if they beat the Bengals on Sunday.
"We've spent our time getting ready for a very important game," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday. "Our players are excited about it."
The Ravens' offense has helped carry the team over the second half of the season. Baltimore managed five drives of 10 or more plays against the Colts. That helped dictate the tempo of the game and also controlled the clock.
The Ravens still have the 29th-ranked passing offense, but quarterback Joe Flacco has played considerably better lately. He got off to a slow start after missing all of training camp with an ailing back.
However, Flacco has thrown seven touchdown passes and just one interception over the past five games. He is feeling confident about his team's potential playoff run.
"Our goal is to get to the playoffs, and once you get to those games, you can't rely on winning those games by 20 or 30 points," Flacco said. "You have to rely on being able to play 60 minutes and being able to have the nerve and everything else that goes along with that."
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has established himself as one of the best in the game.
During the game Saturday against the Colts, Tucker became the fastest pure kicker in NFL history to reach 800 career points by connecting on three more field goals.
Tucker has successfully converted 200 of his 222 career field-goal attempts over his six seasons. He has also made all 202 of his extra-point attempts.
"Kickers are football players, too, apparently," Tucker jokingly said. "I'd rather not have to make a tackle. I think we all are on the same page there, but if the guy is running free, that's my job. I'm the last line of defense, and I've just gotta do what I can to either slow him down, or better, just cut him down."
The Ravens' defense has uncharacteristically given up some big plays over the past few games. As a result, the onus has been on Baltimore's offense to carry the load.
Still, the Ravens lead the league with 22 interceptions, 33 takeaways and a plus-17 turnover ratio. Despite some flaws, Baltimore can instill fear into most teams.
"We come out here to make plays. When you're making plays, it's fun, and we have a lot of guys who can make plays," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "It calms you to know that everybody can make a play and that we all have each other's backs."
NOTES: CB Jaylen Hill tore his ACL and MCL in the third quarter Saturday against the Colts, head coach John Harbaugh said. Hill, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent, had a stellar training camp and was poised to play a big role in the secondary. However, he had missed the first six games of the season because of a hamstring injury. Hill was also a key player on special teams. ... WR Breshad Perriman was active for the second straight game Saturday against the Colts. He had been a healthy scratch in three games this year. Perriman, the team's first-round pick in 2015, was targeted four times and caught two passes for 14 yards against Indianapolis. Perriman has just 10 receptions for 77 yards and no touchdowns this season. ... RB Terrance West was active Saturday against the Colts. It was his first appearance since Oct. 8 after missing time with a calf injury. West did not have a carry. ... WR Jeremy Maclin (knee) was inactive Saturday against the Colts after being unable to practice the previous week. Maclin, who has missed three games this season, is fourth on the team with 40 receptions for 440 yards with three touchdowns. Maclin could be back for the regular-season finale against the Bengals.
REPORT CARD VS. COLTS
--PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Quarterback Joe Flacco was 29 of 38 for 237 yards with two touchdowns. He had a 109.2 passer rating. Flacco spread the ball around to 10 receivers. The Ravens' passing attack has gotten better each week.
--RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Alex Collins and Javorius "Buck" Allen were effective once again splitting carries. Collins finished with 51 and Allen had 37 of the Ravens' 103 rushing yards. Danny Woodhead was effective catching the ball out of the backfield and had a couple of key first downs.
--PASS DEFENSE: C-minus -- The Colts have the league's 30th-ranked pass defense, but quarterback Jacoby Brissett was able to make big plays against the Ravens. He completed 16 of 33 passes for 215 yards with a touchdown. Brissett did not have a turnover and was sacked twice. T.Y. Hilton created matchup problems and finished with six receptions for 100 yards. Baltimore struggles to cover tight ends.
--RUSH DEFENSE: C -- The Ravens gave up some early big plays to running back Frank Gore, who finished with 68 yards on 17 carries and caught a touchdown pass. Baltimore played much better in the second half and held the Colts to 93 yards on the day.
--SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Justin Tucker converted field goals from 30, 39 and 36 yards. However, Sam Koch had a punt blocked late in the game, putting the Colts in position for the tying score.
--COACHING: B -- The offensive play-calling was questionable again. The defense struggled to make adjustments against the Colts tight ends and receiver T.Y. Hilton. Sill, Baltimore earned the victory and can enter the playoffs as a five seed with a victory Sunday against the Bengals.