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NFL Power Rankings Roundup: Ravens continue ascent

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens destroyed the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-14 on Sunday and continued their ascent up the power rankings.

ESPN moved the Ravens up to number seven and named Patrick Ricard as the team’s “most underrated star”.

It sounds strange that a 303-pound player goes unnoticed, but Ricard often goes overlooked as part of the NFL’s No. 1 rushing attack. Even after losing the league’s best blocking tight end in Nick Boyle, Baltimore has continued to dominate when running the ball because of the lead blocking of Ricard, a defensive lineman at Maine who shifted to offense in the NFL. He puts so many linebackers and defensive linemen on their backs that quarterback Lamar Jackson calls Ricard “Pancake Pat.” — Jamison Hensley

CBS Sports placed them at number nine.

Here come the Ravens. The schedule is favorable and they will be a dangerous playoff team if they get in.

Yahoo kept the Ravens at tenth overall.

The Ravens are playing well lately. The problem is Miami is still ahead of them for the seventh seed. Football Outsiders gives Baltimore an 85.4 percent chance to make it to the playoffs. It would be stunning if the Ravens weren’t in the field. And they could be a tough out if they make it.

Sports Illustrated also put them at number ten.

It seems like coming out of their COVID outbreak, the Ravens have rediscovered their identity, and Lamar Jackson is running and working the ball around more efficiently. And this time, Baltimore will head into January as the hunter, rather than the hunted.

NFL.com moved the Ravens all the way up to number five.

After Week 14’s epic prime-time win over the Browns, the Ravens could’ve used a bye. That wasn’t possible, so they settled for the next best thing: a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lamar Jackson accounted for four more touchdowns (he’s up to 10 in the past three games since returning from the COVID-19 list) and Baltimore took a 26-point lead into halftime before cruising to a 40-14 win. The Ravens have won three straight games and suddenly look like a major player in the AFC playoffs — if they get there, of course. The Browns, Colts and Dolphins all also won on Sunday, keeping Baltimore locked into the eighth seed for the time being. Don’t let them in, AFC. Consider this your warning.

As for the rest of the AFC North, the Steelers fell out of the top-five in four out of the five power rankings; NFL.com even put them at number 11. The Browns were a unanimous top-ten team this week. Finally, the Bengals were placed at number 30 in four out of the five power rankings.