Led by a dominant performance by their defense, the Ravens blew out the Bengals 27-3 on Sunday. Subsequently, they have slightly risen in this week’s power rankings and are a consensus top-five team for the first time in two weeks.
The Ravens were hoping to see Lamar Jackson take the next step as a passer, but that hasn’t consistently happened through five games. Baltimore ranks 31st in passing, averaging 178.8 yards per game. Only the banged-up New York Jets are worse. Jackson recently acknowledged he is “not happy” with the passing game but said he believes there’s plenty of time left in the season to turn it around. With the running game not being as dominant as last season, Jackson has to become more accurate and efficient in throwing the ball if Baltimore wants to beat the likes of the Steelers, Colts, Titans and Patriots in November. — Jamison Hensley
CBS Sports moved them up to number five.
They still haven’t clicked on offense yet. The defense was impressive against the Bengals last week, but they need more from the offense.
They moved up to fourth in Sports Illustrated’s rankings.
There are questions on offense, a lot of them stemming from the rocky performance from the interior line (which is what happens when your Hall of Fame right guard retires after an All-Pro season). But what this defense did to poor Joe Burrow on Sunday was a bit much, and their Week 1 trouncing of Cleveland will come in handy in the three-way AFC North race (that’s the only game so far between Baltimore-Cleveland-Pittsburgh).
Yahoo gave the Ravens their highest ranking of the week by placing them at number two.
The Ravens’ four wins have all come by double digits, with an average margin of 21.8 points. They have played some bad opponents but also beat the 4-1 Browns by 32 points. There are some undefeated teams behind them, but I’ll still stand by the Ravens being the second-best team in football.
NFL.com was impressed by their defensive performance against the Bengals and ranked them third overall.
The Ravens’ defense threw a party on Sunday. Seven sacks, each one by a different player, and 15 quarterback hits in a 27-3 win over the Bengals. Baltimore’s front seven made Joe Burrow look like a rookie, holding the No. 1 overall pick to just 183 yards passing with two turnovers (one INT, one fumble). The Bengals managed just 205 total yards in a game that felt like it was over by the second quarter. The defensive dominance provided cover for a pedestrian performance by Lamar Jackson, who will need a hellacious run in the final 11 games to repeat as league MVP. Eye-popping stat of the day: Jackson finished the game with three rushing yards. The offense exists as a work in progress, a surprise through five weeks.
As for the rest of the AFC North, the Steelers were given an average ranking of 4.6 after their victory over the Eagles. The Browns were a top-ten selection by four outlets (ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo, NFL.com). Finally, the Bengals took a slight fall after their 3-27 loss to the Ravens; they received an average ranking of 26.2.