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Ravens Not Deserving of ESPN's #1 Ranking

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Now before all Baltimore Ravens fans go postal on me for being a doubter, you know that there is not a bigger fan of the team out there than I am. While it doesn't really mean anything to have that #1 ranking, it is nice but we all know what matters is who has that ranking at the end of the season, not at the beginning. However, after two weeks of the 2009 season, the Ravens sit at the top of the AFC North, undefeated along with eight other 2-0 teams around the league.

Looking at all nine undefeated teams, I just can't put Baltimore at the top of the list and here's why:

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Including the Ravens, the remaining undefeated teams are the Jets, Colts, Broncos, Vikings, Giants, Saints, Falcons, and 49ers. Not only do I look at the teams' strengths, but I also look at who they played and how they beat them. While starting 2-0 is as good as it gets, there have been teams that have started like this and still bombed by the end of the season. Likewise,there have also been cases where teams have started 0-2 and even went to and won the Super Bowl, so don't read too much into any of this after only two games. This weekend will whittle the group down and make a huge statement as starting 3-0 is a big difference from 2-0.

Looking at the group, I'm not convinced that the 49ers can keep their early success on track, as they go to Minnesota this weekend and I expect the Vikings to continue their winning ways. Same with the Broncos, who needed a huge freak play to beat the Bengals on opening day and then beat the hapless Cleveland Browns. The Colts, while always Ravens-killers, have won both their games against winless teams, and just barely both times. The Falcons have done the same thing, although slightly more convincingly. While the Jets certainly look to be for real, their win over the Patriots in New York (well, actually New Jersey!), is just not as impressive as the Ravens win in San Diego.

The Giants win over two division rivals, including the one on the road in Dallas' new stadium, puts them at the top of my list. Solid on both sides of the ball, I had them ranked as #1. The Saints impressive win in Philadelphia, along with their prolific offensive showing in both games, got them my pick as the #2 ranked team. I actually rated the Vikings ahead of the Ravens based on their two road victories and having the best RB in the league and one of the best QB's of all-time together in their backfield. However, the easy argument is that despite their road success, it was against two of the weaker teams in the league, although they did what they needed to, winning both by two touchdowns.

The Ravens beat the Chiefs by 14 points, although the game was much closer than the final score indicated. The road victory at San Diego was impressive as the Chargers offense is one of the best in the league. However, the Ravens were one good play at the end of the game away from losing. Hence, their #4 ranking by me.

Therefore, I have the top four teams ranked like this:

Giants, Saints, Vikings, Ravens.

The second group of the remaining five undefeated teams include in order:

Jets, Falcons, Colts, 49ers, Broncos.

Your thoughts and comments?