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NFL Power Rankings Roundup: Early Offseason Edition

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NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With the official conclusion of the postseason, many outlets put out early power rankings for the 2020 season. Along with the 49ers and the Chiefs, the Ravens were locked into the top 5 on every ranking. Let's take a quick look.

Bleacher Report: 3

Whether it’s fair or not, the 2019 Baltimore Ravens will be remembered as much for how the team’s season ended as what happened before that. After starting the season 2-2, the Ravens rattled off 12 straight wins to close out the regular season. Baltimore peeled off a jaw-dropping 3,296 yards on the ground for the season—the most by a team in league history. But it was all for naught—the AFC’s No. 1 seed was bounced from the postseason at home for the second straight season. This time, it was the Tennessee Titans who ended Baltimore’s season prematurely. Quarterback Lamar Jackson set a couple records of his own—he’s the first player in NFL history to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a season, and Jackson’s 1,206 yards on the ground are a new high-water mark for the position. But the 23-year-old told Ryan Mink of the team’s website that for all the Ravens accomplished in 2019, the way things ended still left a bad taste in many mouths. “We’re trying to get somewhere. All of us wanted to be in Miami for the Super Bowl. We weren’t planning on cutting it short,” Jackson said. “It happened and we were hurt about it, but it is what it is, and we have to move on.” There’s little reason to think that Baltimore won’t be right back in the mix in the AFC in 2020. But now the Ravens have a new hill to climb. A new hump to get over. Showing they can win when it really counts in the playoffs.

ESPN: 3

Jackson was virtually unstoppable in leading Baltimore to the best record in the league. The Ravens were the only team to average over 30 points per game (33.1) and scored a total of 58 offensive touchdowns — seven more than any other team. Baltimore was 8-0 when scoring 30 or more points. This offense could get even stronger if the Ravens upgrade at wide receiver and along the interior of the offensive line. — Jamison Hensley

NFL.com: 3

It’s still hard to believe the Ravens’ 2019 campaign — one that seemed destined for immortality after a 14-2 regular season — ended with an unceremonious one-and-done exit in January. Football, man. One of the biggest offseason decisions will center around defensive end Matt Judon, a free-agent-to-be who reportedly could be a franchise-tag-and-trade candidate. Judon stepped up with a career-best season when Baltimore’s front seven was in a vulnerable time of transition, but he is also the type of player who — like Dee Ford and Frank Clark in similar situations last year — could fetch a substantial return on the trade market. A trade of Judon would give the Ravens increased financial flexibility and another influx of young talent through the draft. Feels like a move that would make sense for a forward-thinking franchise.

Sports Illustrated: 3

The Ravens have a right to be disappointed they didn’t go on a playoff run, but they should still be ecstatic about their season. They dominated, they set records, they were No. 1 in the power rankings after the regular season, they’ll be back.

USA Today: 4

Startling to hear CB Marlon Humphrey say team’s identity was to “choke” in playoffs. But MVP Lamar Jackson promises to provide many more postseason opportunities at redemption.

Sure, Baltimore's season did not have the ending we expected. However, there is plenty to be optimistic about. Lamar Jackson won the MVP unanimously in his first full season as a starter, and the team's core is very young. They should be contenders for years to come.