The vast majority of national pundits view the Baltimore Ravens as the second-best team in the league after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars in primetime this past Sunday. Now, it’s time to see where the team lands among the NFL landscape of power rankings heading into Week 16.
NFL.com: 2 (Last week: 2)
Somehow, Lamar Jackson’s value to this team went up Sunday night, as the Ravens weathered a tight first half and pulled away late. Jackson was great again, but the season-ending knee injury to Keaton Mitchell, who had carved out an important role over the last two months, is pretty notable. The offense still has some threats, but on Sunday evening, Odell Beckham Jr. had as many drops as catches (one apiece), while Zay Flowers was held to one reception. That won’t happen most games, and tight end Isaiah Likely stepped up with a big performance, but it does highlight the fact that the Ravens aren’t exactly teeming with playmakers with TE Mark Andrews and Mitchell out. But then again, Baltimore has a strong defense led by DT Justin Madubuike, who has been an absolute beast. Even with injuries, this is a strong roster and a balanced operation. Monday’s showdown with the 49ers will be a terrific measuring-stick game, with both teams headed to the playoffs.
The Athletic: 2 (Last week: 3)
Baltimore didn’t even enter the season as the favorite in its division, and now it’s the only team in the AFC to clinch a postseason berth. Lamar Jackson has been Lamar Jackson and the Todd Monken hire at offensive coordinator looks inspired. The Ravens have won eight of their last nine. Watching their defense, which leads the NFL with just 16.1 points per game allowed, go against the 49ers offense next week will be a treat.
ESPN: 2 (Last week: 3)
We’re No. 1 ... at running the ball.
The Ravens lead the NFL in rushing, and it’s not even close. Behind quarterback Lamar Jackson’s elusive scrambles, Baltimore is averaging 163.8 yards per game on the ground, which is at least 22 yards more per game than the rest of the league. It’s impressive that the Ravens have been so dominant in running the ball, because they lost featured back J.K. Dobbins to a torn Achilles in the season opener. To compound matters, Baltimore will now be without its most explosive running back in Keaton Mitchell, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Sunday night.
The Ringer: 2 (Last week: 3)
NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth couldn’t stop gushing about Lamar Jackson during the Ravens’ 23-7 win over Jacksonville on Sunday Night Football—and for good reason. It was a vintage Jackson performance, with 97 rushing yards (and 8.1 yards per rush). But it wasn’t so much that Jackson was scrambling, it was the way that he constantly seemed to have the Jaguars defense on its heels. It was just another reminder of how Jackson effortlessly does things on a football field that no other quarterback can do. His biggest test of the season comes this week against San Francisco, with a chance to cement the Ravens as the top contender in the AFC and bolster his own MVP case against current betting favorite Brock Purdy.
Sports Illustrated: 2 (Last week: 2)
This week on the podcast, guest co-host Rohan Nadkarni brought up a great point: how do we quantify the lack of negative yardage saved by Lamar Jackson? He’s so maddening to bring down and gets you positive yardage when other quarterbacks would lose perhaps five or 10 yards in a sack situation. This changes the dynamics of everything, from more obvious scoring opportunities to a shift in field position advantages.
Fox Sports: 2 (Last week: 3)
It speaks to Lamar Jackson’s ability that posting 268 total yards and a touchdown in a 16-point road win feels like a ho-hum performance. The Ravens are rarely flashy, but they are complete – though it hurts to lose a threat like Keaton Mitchell. They have a big, big test coming up, traveling to face the top-dog 49ers on Christmas.
Yahoo Sports: 2 (Last week: 3)
There was nothing good about losing Mark Andrews, but at least the Ravens had Isaiah Likely behind him. Likely might be a top-15 tight end, he just happened to be behind a top-three tight end. Likely had 70 yards and a touchdown on Sunday night. His continued emergence is huge for the Ravens.
Pro Football Network: 2 (Last week: 4)
The Ravens clinched a playoff berth by taking down the Jaguars on Sunday night and stayed two games ahead of the Browns in the AFC North. Moreover, Baltimore’s Week 15 win shifted its chances of landing the AFC’s No. 1 seed to roughly three in four. Lamar Jackson rushed for nearly 100 yards against Jacksonville and made several plays outside of structure that few — if any — quarterbacks around the league could execute. Rookie RB Keaton Mitchell’s severe knee injury put a damper on Baltimore’s victory, but the Ravens are the kings of the AFC with three weeks remaining in the regular season.
Sporting News: 2 (Last week: 3)
The Ravens have won eight of nine games and will look to pass another NFC West test after taking it to the Cardinals, Seahawks and Rams in different ways. They have definitely done their part in the AFC, ripping the Jaguars with the Dolphins looming in Week 17. Lamar Jackson and the defense are taking turns getting it done.
CBS Sports: 2 (Last week: 3)
They are the top team in the AFC as Lamar Jackson pushes to potentially win his second MVP. The next two weeks are big with the 49ers and Dolphins on the schedule.
USA Today: 2 (Last week: 3)
Winners in eight of the last nine outings, their quest to lock up the conference’s No. 1 seed could hit a serious speed bump on Christmas night against the NFC’s top-ranked Niners. Didn’t help to lose speed back Keaton Mitchell to a season-ending knee injury.
Touchdown Wire: 2 (Last week: 4)
Lamar Jackson is playing like an MVP candidate, and the Ravens will find out just how good they really are when they play the 49ers on Christmas night.
Sharp Football Analysis: 2 (Last week: 2)
It was not as dominant as the final score given the Jaguars left a lot of points on the field, but the Ravens got another good win in Jacksonville on Sunday night. Now comes the real test. Baltimore has to travel to San Francisco on Christmas Day. Even if they lose that game, they look like the most consistent team in the AFC.
Sportsnaut: 2 (Last week: 2)
The Baltimore Ravens came away from Sunday Night Football with a victory but the season-ending injury to Keaton Mitchell that this offense couldn’t afford. Baltimore certainly has the defense to keep things interesting in Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers, but not having Mitchell or Mark Andrews might ultimately be what cost the Ravens a victory.
Bleacher Report: 2 (Last week: 3)
The Baltimore Ravens are the first AFC team to clinch a playoff berth. And with each successive week, the team looks more and more like the class of the conference.