The Baltimore Ravens were on their bye week, so they did not play a game on Sunday. Nevertheless, they still moved up in a few power rankings due to losses by teams like the Bills and Chiefs. With all eyes on Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, the Ravens have a shot to establish themselves as a Super Bowl contender in the eyes of the league.
The Ravens remained at number 6 in ESPN’s latest power rankings. They listed Matthew Judon as a “player who needs to step up” under their ranking and expressed concern over the team’s pass rushing situation after losing Pernell McPhee.
Honestly, you can insert any Baltimore outside linebacker in this spot. The Ravens have recorded a meager 12 sacks, the fifth-lowest total in the league, and they’ve lost Pernell McPhee to a season-ending triceps injury. That means Baltimore needs Judon to take it to the next level as a leader and as a pass-rusher. Judon has four sacks this season, and the Ravens will need more from him considering the other pass-rushers -- Tyus Bowser, Jaylon Ferguson and Jihad Ward -- are not top-tier threats from the edge. -- Jamison Hensley
They come off their bye with a major challenge against the Patriots. Can Lamar Jackson handle facing that top defense?
Sports Illustrated bumped the Ravens up one spot, as well, to number 8. They also highlighted the significance of their upcoming game against the Patriots.
Lamar Jackson faces his toughest test of the season this weekend in the Pats’ top-ranked defense. Belichick will surely throw the kitchen sink at the young QB, so this should be a good barometer of how far Jackson has come in the last year.
Yahoo gave the Ravens their largest boost of the week moving them up two places to number 6.
The Ravens had the bye week to get in some extra preparation for the Patriots. They’ll need a very good game plan to do any damage against the best defense in the NFL
NFL.com held them over at the same position, number 10. However, they did take time to recognize how amazing Lamar Jackson has been this season.
With the Ravens exiting their bye week, let’s use this space to contextualize Lamar Jackson’s greatness this season through numbers. Let’s start with the offense Jackson leads: The Ravens are averaging 30.6 points per game and 434.9 yards per game, both the best marks in franchise history. Jackson’s 576 rushing yards were good for 10th in the NFL entering Monday. You won’t find another quarterback on that list of top runners until Kyler Murray, ranked 38th in the league. Jackson had more rushing yards on his own than seven other teams in the NFL entering Week 8, and he’s currently on pace for 1,316 rushing yards, which would shatter Michael Vick’s NFL record for a quarterback of 1,039 yards, set in 2006. Throw in the fact that Jackson has more than twice as many touchdown passes (11) as he does interceptions (5), with a passer rating near 100, and yes, the Ravens have a legit MVP candidate under center.
Every other AFC North team was obviously still far behind the Ravens in every power ranking. The Bengals are still winless. The Browns lost to the Patriots. The Steelers were the only winners this week, but a win over the Miami Dolphins is not very inspiring.