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NFL Power Rankings Roundup: Ravens Head Into Final Game Still On Top

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens did it. With a 31-15 victory over the Browns, they clinched the number 1 seed in the AFC for the first time in franchise history. This week, they remained the unanimous top team across the power rankings again for the 4th consecutive week.

ESPN called Lamar Jackson “the best player in football”.

Jackson isn’t just the MVP of the Ravens. He’s the best player in football. Jackson leads the NFL with 36 touchdown passes and ranks No. 6 in the league with 1,206 rushing yards. In leading the Ravens to their first-ever No. 1 seed, Jackson has thrown for four or more touchdowns in four games and has rushed for more than 100 yards in five games. He has 43 touchdowns (36 passing and seven rushing), eclipsing the TD total for 21 other teams this season. Jackson is redefining the quarterback position, and he’s finishing just his first full season as an NFL starter. -- Jamison Hensley

Yahoo expressed concern over the Ravens resting starters.

It’s a little dicey for a top-two seed to sit starters in Week 17. That means key players will go 20 or 21 days between games. But it’s better to be a little more conservative than to see a Lamar Jackson get hurt in a meaningless game, so it’s hard to argue with John Harbaugh sitting his guys this week. Bill O’Brien should take note.

CBS Sports stated that this Sunday's game will have no effect on their rankings.

The Ravens are the top team in my Power Rankings again this week and they will go into the playoffs that way because this week’s game against the Steelers doesn’t mean anything to them and they will rest players.

All 7 of Sports Illustrated's voters placed the Ravens at number 1 for the 2nd straight week.

The Ravens got their revenge on the Browns, running Cleveland out of their own stadium after a sluggish start. Lamar Jackson led both teams in passing (238 with three TDs on 20-of-31) and rushing yards (103 on 17 attempts) as the defense stifled the Browns on the ground and on third down (3-of-12). But Mark Ingram suffered a calf injury at the start of the fourth quarter, something to watch for the No. 1-seeded Ravens. wrote that Jackson is having “one of the best individual seasons in NFL history”.

There’s an inevitability about Ravens games. Even when they don’t come out firing, you know they’ll get you. Eventually, the Ravens will come for your soul. We saw it again Sunday against the Browns. With two minutes to play in the second quarter, Cleveland held a 6-0 lead. The Ravens then did this over their next three possessions: 2 plays, 63 yards, TD; 7 plays, 75 yards, TD; 13 plays, 69 yards, TD. From game in doubt to game over in about half a quarter worth of game time. Lamar Jackson locked up unanimous MVP status with this performance, and since he’s not playing this Sunday (with the No. 1 seed wrapped up), let’s appreciate the greatness: 15 starts, 3,127 yards passing, 66.1 completion percentage, 36 passing touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 1,206 rushing yards, 7 rushing scores. One of the best individual seasons in NFL history.

As for the rest of the AFC North, the Steelers did not lose much ground in the rankings, despite losing to the Jets. Their average position was 13.6. The Browns fell out of the top 20 altogether after losing to the Ravens. Finally, the Bengals remained the unanimous last-ranked team after losing to the Dolphins and clinching the 1st overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Ravens will look to end their regular season with a victory over the Steelers. Robert Griffin III will start at quarterback. A win could potentially knock the rival Steelers out of the playoffs.