Jason Reid, ESPN
Biggest area of need: No glaring roster holes
Key move made before the deadline: No moves made
Coach John Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta like the team they’ve built, and what’s not to like? Superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson is atop a deep and versatile roster. Jackson is completing 70.5% of his passes, which ranks third in the league, for the AFC North leaders (6-2), who are tied for the conference’s best record.
On defense, the Ravens have been outstanding. Baltimore ranks both first in yards per game and points per game, limiting opponents to only 15.1.
The Ravens have the look of a team built to succeed in the postseason.
Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner
Starting Sunday in Baltimore, the Ravens will face — and strap in, because this will take a while — the NFC West’s top team (the Seattle Seahawks), the NFL’s best defense outside Baltimore (the Cleveland Browns’), their biggest threat in the AFC North (the Cincinnati Bengals), the AFC South’s best team (the Jacksonville Jaguars), perhaps the NFC’s most talented team (the San Francisco 49ers) and the NFL’s best offense (the Miami Dolphins’).
But wait, there’s more: Also looming in that nine-game stretch is a recent Super Bowl champion (the Los Angeles Rams), a recent Super Bowl dark horse (the Los Angeles Chargers) and a Pittsburgh Steelers team the Ravens just can’t seem to figure out. According to FTN, it is the NFL’s second-toughest remaining schedule, and even that might be underselling it.
“It’s going to be tough regardless,” quarterback Lamar Jackson said Wednesday. “Any team in the league you’re going to play against is going to be a tough game. All of us NFL players are superstars, but I believe we’re prepared. We’re prepared. We’ve been showing it, getting better each and every week.”
Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun
Jackson will have to play more patiently against the Seahawks, who, like the Cardinals, blitz infrequently. They rank just 19th in DVOA against the pass but have played better than that in recent weeks. In an Oct. 15 loss at Cincinnati, Seattle held Joe Burrow to 185 yards on 35 attempts, and opponents have averaged just 5.6 yards per pass attempt overall. Rookie Devon Witherspoon, the No. 5 pick in the 2023 draft, wasted no time becoming one of the league’s top all-around cornerbacks. He already has eight passes defended and two sacks. Safety Jamal Adams remains a frightening blitz threat from the secondary. Weakside linebacker Boye Mafe and nose tackle Jarran Reed have been the Seahawks’ most productive pass rushers, but they added serious help at the trade deadline in defensive end Leonard Williams, who gave the Ravens problems when he played for the New York Giants.
Quarterback Geno Smith has played well for much of the season but has undermined himself by throwing five interceptions over his past three games. Smith is completing 67.6% of his passes after he led the league at 69.8% last year and has dynamic targets in wide receivers Tyler Lockett (35 catches, 370 yards, three touchdowns) and D.K. Metcalf (27 catches, 404 yards) and tight end Noah Fant (14 catches on 16 targets, 16.1 yards per catch). His pass protection is iffy.
NFL Week 9 picks, best bets: Seahawks shootout, Bengals bounce Bills, plus what stood out with Raiders firings
Will Brinson, CBS Sports
Ravens/Seahawks over (44)
This ends up being the highest-scoring game of the week somehow. Both teams love to get weird and chuck it around in the second half. Lamar Jackson and this Todd Monken offense is starting to click. We’re going to see an explosive game soon, especially with the Ravens defense being thin on the backend. Eugene Cyril Smith III (you know him better as Geno Smith but I digress) is, and it’s funny to write this sentence, the perfect foil, too. Think Seahawks-Lions where this thing gets into the 70s.
Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer
Seattle Seahawks at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5)
What a lineup we have on Sunday. Chiefs-Dolphins early from Frankfurt. This game in the 1 p.m. ET window. Eagles-Cowboys in the late window. And then Bills-Bengals at night. I love that the four best games of the day are spread out.
The Seahawks won a weird one last week against Cleveland. They took an early 17-7 lead, then fell behind 20-17, and finally stole it at the end. The Seahawks defense has gotten a lot healthier, and they just added defensive end Leonard Williams from the Giants. That’s a unit to watch in the second half of the season.
As for the Ravens, they might be the most complete team in football. They can run it. They can pass it. Their defense is now rated first, overtaking Cleveland, in terms of EPA per drive. And they generally have an edge in the kicking game.
I think I know what we’ve got with the Ravens. If they lose this game, I’m unlikely to think much differently about them. But this is a “What’s their ceiling?” game for the Seahawks. At 5-2, they’re in first place in the NFC West. If they can go on the road and beat Baltimore, expect to hear some Super Bowl sleeper buzz. Unless Seattle QB Geno Smith turns the ball over multiple times, I feel like this one’s going to be tight.
The pick: Seahawks (+5.5)
Vic Tafur, The Athletic
The Seahawks had to be feeling pretty good after trading second- and fifth-round picks for Leonard Williams to beef up their defensive line. Not as good the next day when the 49ers got Young, a better player, for only a third-rounder, but we digress. Seattle already had a good pass rush (14th-ranked 36.3 percent pressure rate) and is 5-0 in games it pressured opposing QBs on at least 30 percent of their dropbacks. The Ravens have won three games in a row and have divisional games against the Browns and Bengals on deck. Lamar Jackson is playing well and they probably win again. Just not by six.
The pick: Seahawks