ESPN placed the Ravens at number two and applauded the play of rookie linebacker Patrick Queen.
The rookie first-round pick finished as the Ravens’ leading tackler in the opener, making more stops (eight) than points allowed by his defense (six). Queen showed flashes of being a playmaker with a sack and a forced fumble. He became the youngest defender to ever start for the Ravens at 21 years and one month old but proved that he knows his history by sporting a Ray Lewis T-shirt in his first postgame news conference. — Jamison Hensley
Lamar Jackson and the offense picked up right where they left off last season. The defense was dominant against the Browns and has the look for being improved from a year ago.
Sports Illustrated placed them at number three, citing last season’s playoff loss.
The Ravens went 14-2 last season, but spent this offseason answering questions about their second straight disappointing playoff loss. They are in the unenviable position of having to go through the entire regular season without being able to prove their doubters wrong until the playoffs start, but it was encouraging to see them pick up where they left off last regular season when they were thrashing teams.
Yahoo was the only outlet to give the Ravens the number one spot this week.
Lamar Jackson will be an MVP candidate again. Marquise Brown looks like he’ll have a second-year breakout. Mark Andrews is one of the best tight ends in football. J.K. Dobbins could have a big rookie season. And the defense is still nasty. The Ravens are not going anywhere.
NFL.com moved them up one spot to number two.
By the third quarter, Sunday’s opener felt more like a preseason tune-up. That’s how easy and relaxed the Ravens looked in a 38-6 win over the overmatched Browns, Baltimore’s 13th straight regular-season victory. Lamar Jackson finished 9-of-10 for 180 yards on throws of 10 yards or more downfield, according to ESPN. It showed growth in his game from last year’s MVP season, when he completed less than 50 percent of such pass attempts. Is it possible that Jackson could even be better than he was in 2019? A scary thought for defensive coordinators across the league.
Now, let’s take a quick look at the rest of the AFC North. The Steelers were the most polarizing team this week. Three outlets (CBS Sports, Yahoo, SI) placed them in the top five, while ESPN kept them out of their top ten. The Browns failed the crack the top 20 in any ranking, after their blowout loss on Sunday, and the Bengals received an average ranking of 28.6.