The majority of national pundits view the Baltimore Ravens as a top-three team and some even have them as the top team in the league after they beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 12. Now, it’s time to see where the team lands among the NFL landscape of power rankings heading into Week 13.
The Athletic: 2 (Last week: 4)
Best case: Super Bowl ring
The Ravens are the most balanced team in the AFC. They are second in scoring defense (15.6) and defensive success rate (62.9 percent). Offensively, they lead the league in rushing (158.6 per game) and are seventh in yards overall (366.1 ypg). Linebackers Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen each have more than 100 tackles, and Jadeveon Clowney has 7 1/2 sacks. Baltimore hasn’t advanced past the divisional round since its 2012 Super Bowl win. That looks like it’ll change.
NFL.com: 2 (Last week: 2)
The Ravens have led at the start of every fourth quarter this season. They’ve hit the bye in the No. 1 slot in the AFC and own a 1.5-game lead in a division where two other teams have lost their starting quarterbacks and the third isn’t exactly blown away by its QB1. But for whatever reason, Baltimore has a nasty habit of leaving the door open late, sometimes against inferior teams. Sunday night ended with a win, but the Ravens gave the Chargers all kinds of chances to steal the game. This has happened in victories over the Bengals and Cardinals, and it certainly was a problem in losses to the Colts, Steelers and Browns. Yet the Ravens stomped the Lions and Seahawks. Perhaps this won’t be a problem, but it’s currently one of the few fissures in the fortress, as the Ravens are clearly in the hunt for their first Super Bowl in more than a decade.
Fox Sports: 2 (Last week: 3)
Rather than harp on the ugly aspects of that win in L.A., I’ll simply say this for the Ravens: they finally found a way to win a close one. And as grueling as it must have been to play 12 straight games, they now get to enjoy the benefit of taking a week off just before the home stretch.
ESPN: 3 (Last week: 5)
Special teams: 3
The Ravens are the only team to rank in the top 10 in all three phases, which explains why this could be the most complete team in the NFL. Baltimore is averaging 27.6 points per game, which are the most for this franchise through 12 weeks since Lamar Jackson’s 2019 NFL MVP season. The Ravens’ defense has been even more dominant, holding teams to an NFL-best 15.5 points per game. That’s the fewest through 12 games for Baltimore since 2006, which was the first season that the Ravens finished No. 1 in defense.
Sharp Football Analysis: 3 (Last week: 3)
The story of the game was Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury, but the Ravens lost Mark Andrews to what could also be a season-ending blow earlier in the game. Lamar Jackson also came up limping several times, and Odell Beckham left the game early after going for 116 yards. With Andrews out, the Ravens will need the trio of receivers that got all the attention this offseason to step up. On the bright side, the division suddenly looks a lot more secure given the injuries to Burrow and Deshaun Watson as well as the Steelers’ inability to score points.
Touchdown Wire: 3 (Last week: 3)
Zay Flowers had his first career two-touchdown game, and the defense held the Chargers to just 10 points. Baltimore looks as good as they ever have in the Lamar Jackson era.
The Ringer: 4 (Last week: 3)
The Ravens head into their bye week atop the AFC standings—a pretty nice place to be after a couple of uneven offensive performances in recent weeks. The Ravens scored just one touchdown in the first 58 minutes of Sunday’s win against the Chargers (Zay Flowers iced the game with a touchdown after the two-minute warning), but with a dominant and opportunistic defense, they didn’t need to do any more than that. Baltimore’s defense forced four turnovers and overwhelmed the Chargers’ line with pressure at just the right moments, none bigger than when they forced a turnover on downs across midfield in the final two minutes of a three-score game.
Yahoo Sports: 4 (Last week: 5)
Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will have to get some head-coaching interviews. He is leading a top-five defense that doesn’t have a dominant pass rusher. He is one of the NFL’s best at scheming up a defense.
Sports Illustrated: 4 (Last week: 7)
The Ravens uncorking the perfect fourth down blitz on Sunday night against the Chargers is why you’re hearing so much buzz about defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. Before the season, I was told the Ravens were expecting to lose him at some point in the near future. Once again, you’re seeing why.
USA Today: 4 (Last week: 4)
Sunday night’s win against the Chargers is Baltimore’s only game in a 23-day window as the AFC North leaders hit their off week. Better rest up, fellas. You’re likely to fall out of the AFC’s top spot during your break – and then it’s onward and into a rough five-week sprint to the tape.
Sporting News: 4 (Last week: 5)
The Ravens took down the Chargers by their usual dose of pressure, good coverage and forcing turnovers. They proved they can still dominate rushing offensively while still maintaining ace situational passing with Lamar Jackson.
Bleacher Report: 4 (Last week: 4)
On one hand, Sunday night’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers wasn’t the Ravens’ best game of the season. This is a team that decimated the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. But the Ravens played a balanced game, with 197 rushing yards and 177 passing yards. The defense stifled the Chargers, allowing just 279 yards of offense and forcing four turnovers. And as head coach John Harbaugh told reporters afterward, when the game was on the line, the Ravens stepped up and closed things out late.
Sportsnaut: 4 (Last week: 4)
The Baltimore Ravens’ biggest enemy this season is themselves. A baffling number of drops, dumbfounding mistakes and a few bad decisions are the entire reason why the Ravens aren’t undefeated. Of course, these self-inflicted wounds and fourth-quarter collapses have been a thing for three years now. All of this is to say, the Ravens are the very reason they aren’t No. 1.
Walterfootball.com: 4 (Last week: 3)
Lamar Jackson didn’t look quite the same without Mark Andrews, which is especially discouraging because he was in an easy matchup against the Joey Bosa-less Chargers. The good news is that Andrews might be able to return for the playoffs.
CBS Sports: 6 (Last week: 8)
The offense was a little off against the Chargers, but the defense came up big. They are clearly in the race for the top seed in the AFC as they head to their bye.
Pro Football Network: 6 (Last week: 7)
Arguably, there is no more talented team in the AFC. At their best, it’s hard to argue anybody is harder to defend or harder to move the ball against than the Ravens. But it always feels so hard to trust this team. Inexcusable turnovers seem to pop up consistently for this offense. Whether it be Lamar Jackson holding onto the ball to try to make a play or a poor handoff exchange, weird things seem to happen often to this offense. But if they play clean football, they might be the most complete team in the league. A win against the Chargers won’t win them any awards, but in a congested AFC, every win counts in the race for the top playoff seed.