The majority of national pundits view the Baltimore Ravens as one of the top three teams in the league and some are even higher on them after they defeated the Arizona Cardinals 31-24 for their third win in a row. Now, it’s time to see where the team lands among the NFL landscape of power rankings heading into Week 9.
The Athletic: 2 (Last week: 3)
Something scary (for others): Lamar Jackson under Todd Monken
The Ravens’ new offensive coordinator has the Ravens’ old quarterback playing at an MVP level. In the last three weeks, no quarterback in the league has more total expected points added (24.98) than Jackson, according to TruMedia, and his completion percentage (70.5) and yards per attempt (7.8) are on pace to be career highs.
NFL.com: 2 (Last week: 4)
There were minimal signs of an emotional letdown for the Ravens after Week 7’s trouncing of the Lions. Lamar Jackson did little, but they didn’t need him to do much. They allowed Arizona to hang around too long, but in the end, this was a solid road win. They’ll take it, with the next three games (and six of the final nine) in Baltimore. That’s the good news. The bad? Most of the remaining opponents look fairly tough or better. And the AFC North has muscled up a bit since the Ravens last played a divisional game. Still, they’re 6-2, tied atop the AFC and arguably playing as well as anyone in the conference. This week’s opponent, the Seahawks, could be one big win away from making that claim on the NFC side. The Ravens’ steep march to the playoffs begins in earnest.
Pro Football Network: 1 (Last week: 3)
Baltimore fell into the same trap as many teams have so far against Arizona. They started off slow. But unlike other teams who have played the Cardinals, Baltimore’s defense didn’t allow Arizona an inch and gave a struggling offense some nice field position to put the game away.
The Ravens overtake the top spot in the power rankings because their defense has been endlessly persistent, and their passing attack has improved by leaps and bounds. They may still be volatile, but they deserve the top spot in their current form.
The Ringer: 3 (Last week: 4)
The final score makes the Ravens’ 31-24 win over the Cardinals look close. It wasn’t. Baltimore led 31-14 with under two minutes to play, and then Arizona scored a touchdown, recovered an onside kick, made a field goal, and then failed to cover a second onside kick as their comeback attempt fell short. The lesson for Baltimore? Don’t put Nelson Agholor on the hands team.
The Ravens are quietly rounding into form as one of the best teams in football. Lamar Jackson is playing like an MVP candidate (he finally has some worthy receivers!), and the defense is a top five unit. The rest of the AFC is on notice.
ESPN: 4 (Last week: 5)
Lamar Jackson is living up to the five-year, $260 million contract he signed this offseason. In his first year in Todd Monken’s offense, Jackson is more accurate than ever, completing 70.5% of his passes (third best in the NFL). He’s still dangerous with his legs, whether it’s extending plays or delivering big gains on the ground. His 380 yards rushing tops all quarterbacks. Jackson’s playmaking ability is why Baltimore is tied for the best record in the AFC and holds a 1½-game lead in the AFC North.
Sportsnaut: 1 (Last week: 1)
It wasn’t as spectacular as last Sunday’s win against the Lions, but the Baltimore Ravens once again proved they’re the best team in the NFL. Lamar Jackson should be leading the MVP race and he’s supported by arguably the best defense in football. The Ravens will stumble at some point, every team at No. 1 has this year, but Baltimore’s track record has earned this spot entering Week 9.
Sharp Football Analysis: 2 (Last week: 3)
It was not as dominating a performance as hoped coming off a big win, but the Ravens took care of business in Arizona to move to 6-2 and keep their name in the hat for the best team in the AFC. With the Bengals surging, Baltimore will need to keep winning to stake their claim to this division. They have a tough test this week against the Seahawks.
Fox Sports: 2 (Last week: 4)
It felt a bit predictable that Baltimore would struggle after such a dominant performance against Detroit the week before, but at least they won. That’s more than several other contenders can say this week. The Ravens are the latest in a long line of teams to be frustrated by Arizona, but it’s easier to iron out the wrinkles after a third straight win.
CBS Sports: 2 (Last week: 3)
They found a way against Arizona, but the passing game took a step back. That’s a concern for this group.
USA Today: 2 (Last week: 4)
At 6-2 and leading their division, are they the AFC’s best team? Maybe, but they certainly seem to have the conference’s best safety tandem in Kyle Hamilton and emergent Geno Stone, who leads the NFL with five INTs.
Walterfootball.com: 2 (Last week: 3)
The Ravens had an obvious flat spot against the Cardinals. They won by just seven, but they were up by 17 at one point in the fourth quarter. Don’t read anything into that “close” result.
Sporting News: 3 (Last week: 3)
The Ravens don’t get a lot of style points for getting a little sloppy defensively at the end of their game at Arizona, but keep in mind they were riding the high of the Lions rout and had a mini letdown ahead of bigger matchups. Still, Lamar Jackson and the running game kept doing their thing.
Yahoo Sports: 3 (Last week: 4)
Gus Edwards picked a good time to have a three-touchdown game, right before the trade deadline. The Ravens should still explore running backs because Edwards is probably best suited as part of a committee rather than a lead back, but he is a good player and will do if the Ravens can’t add anyone.
Sports Illustrated: 4 (Last week: 4)
This is how deeply good the Ravens offense is: Lamar Jackson back-footed a complete 50–50 ball that Rashod Bateman had to wrestle a defensive back for in the air, and later in the drive, Mark Andrews caught a touchdown pass while simultaneously running into Zay Flowers.
Bleacher Report: 4 (Last week: 3)
Last week, the Baltimore Ravens put together their most complete effort of the season in a 38-6 immolation of the Detroit Lions. In that game, the Ravens looked like arguably the best team in the AFC.
Against the Cardinals, however, the Ravens reverted to the team we have seen much of the season. They were good enough to win the game against a lesser opponent like the Redbirds. But for whatever reason, they’ve been unable to pull away and blow those lesser opponents out.
Touchdown Wire: 5 (Last week: 6)
The Cardinals had a legendary backdoor cover to make the score look closer than the game actually was. Baltimore should make a move for someone like Saquon Barkley to give them another go-to weapon down the stretch.