Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
Queen is having his finest season as a Raven. He’s second on the team to Smith with 53 tackles, tied for first with Madubuike with five tackles for loss and tied for second with Jadeveon Clowney with 3.5 sacks. He’s playing with more physicality and avoiding some of the missed tackles and broken assignments that impacted him earlier in his career. There are teams that don’t value the inside linebacker position enough to spend significant money on it, but Queen’s playmaking ability will surely garner attention on the open market — if he gets there.
Madubuike has shown potential in flashes during his previous three seasons, but he’s now making impactful plays on a more consistent basis. He leads the team with 4.5 sacks (one off his career high) and is second with eight quarterback hits. He’s played the run well, too. In a league where versatile interior pass rushers are always in demand, Madubuike has put himself in an awfully good position.
Then, there’s Stone. He’s always been a solid special-teamer and proved to be a more-than-capable fill-in starter last season when Marcus Williams was out. With Williams again dealing with injuries this year, Stone has played even better. His three interceptions not only lead the team but are tied for the NFL lead. He’s also fourth on the Ravens with 26 tackles.
At this rate, there certainly could be teams willing to pay him starting safety-type money.
Clifton Brown, BaltimoreRavens.com
Stone was Baltimore’s highest-graded player in Week 6 according to Pro Football Focus, with a 90.1.
He has become increasingly important to the team’s secondary over the last four years, finding his niche even after the acquisitions of Williams and Hamilton, two of the league’s most talented safeties.
The defense didn’t miss a beat last season when Stone started seven games after Williams fractured his wrist. When Williams suffered a pectoral injury in Week 2 and missed two games, Stone stepped in again, and he’ll continue making an impact as a starter until Williams returns to the lineup. Williams is week-to-week, Harbaugh said.
“I feel like every time I get put in situations, good things happen,” Stone said. “It’s not a good thing when people go down, but I feel like it’s a testament to the personnel, scouts, everyone we’ve got. They put good people in this organization. Whenever we get plugged in, we’re going to make the same plays the starters would make.”
Dalton Wasserman, PFF
Overall Rookie Grade: 71.7 (Rank: 4/13)
Principal Opponent: Kristian Fulton
Week 6 Snaps: 63
Week 6 Grade: 66.1
Flowers doesn’t dominate games like a WR1 yet, but he has been a steady presence for Lamar Jackson. Facing Tennessee in London, he hauled in six catches, including a nice scramble adjustment for his first career touchdown. His electric quickness continues to be a factor before and after the catch. Now he just needs help, as his 367 yards accounts for 47% of the Ravens’ wide receiver production.
Jamison Hensley, ESPN
9. Baltimore Ravens (4-2)
Lesson learned: Roquan Smith is the defensive X factor.
After trading for Smith at midseason last year, the Ravens went from allowing 22.9 points per game to 14.7. This year, Smith’s tackling and leadership have kept Baltimore among the stingiest defenses in the league despite four starters missing at least one game due to injury (CB Marlon Humphrey, S Marcus Williams and OLBs Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo). The Ravens have limited offenses to 15.2 points per game, which is one of the biggest reasons Baltimore is 4-2 and atop the AFC North. Smith has proved he deserves to be the league’s highest-paid middle linebacker.
Sorting out NFL contenders and pretenders: Playoff picture entering Week 7 includes legit teams and frauds
Jordan Dajani, CBS Sports
Baltimore Ravens (4-2, 1st in AFC North)
I really like the Ravens despite the fact that they haven’t registered that statement win yet. Lamar Jackson is throwing the ball well, Zay Flowers looks like a young star and Baltimore again has a top five rushing attack despite being without J.K. Dobbins. Remember, this is a new offense the Ravens are working through, and it could take off in the coming weeks.
What makes the Ravens legitimate contenders is their defense. They rank No. 2 in yards per game through six weeks (260.8), and Roquan Smith is a bonafide stud. Baltimore got off to a hot start in the AFC North. Can the Ravens build on it?
Bill Bender, The Sporting News
Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox
This is the best game on the day-time slate. The Lions are one of three teams with a top-10 offense and top-10 defense — San Francisco and Philadelphia are the others. Detroit is 3-0 S/U on the road and 5-1 ATS this season. Baltimore is close to being a top-10 on both sides, but they rank 11th in offense. Look for the Lions’ defensive line to frustrate Lamar Jackson, who are home after a three-game road stint that included a trip to London. Get this line with this value now.
Pick: Lions 24, Ravens 21