The vast majority of national pundits now view the Baltimore Ravens as the top team in the league after they defeated the San Francisco 49ers on a Christmas edition of Monday Night Football in Week 16. Now, it’s time to see where the team lands among the NFL landscape of power rankings heading into Week 17.
The Athletic: 1 (Last week: 2)
The Ravens’ sixth-year quarterback is playing the way he did when he won the 2019 MVP award. That season, Jackson passed for 3,127 yards, rushed for 1,206 yards and totaled 43 touchdowns. This year, he has 3,357 passing yards, 787 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. On Monday night, he led Baltimore to points on seven straight drives while leading the team in passing and rushing. He’s not only the MVP of the top team in these power rankings, but he may have captured the league award Monday night.
NFL.com: 1 (Last week: 2)
A million things happened afterward, but I thought the Ravens showed a lot of early poise following a pretty shaky start against the 49ers. Kicking off the Brock Purdy pick party in the end zone was a strong response, but the defense bent a few times early and the offense opened with a three-and-out and then an unfortunate, ref-induced safety. From there on, though, it was a Baltimore onslaught that ended with a 33-19 road win. The Ravens have passed a number of mental-toughness tests this season, and we saw them check the box on two more Monday night: stemming the tide early in a hostile environment and then making a tremendous goal-line stand in the final few minutes to shut the door on any miracle-comeback possibility for the Niners. Lamar Jackson played such a cool, composed game, even if the Ravens might’ve taken their foot off the gas a bit early. It certainly tilted the MVP debate in Jackson’s favor on a night when his biggest competition threw four picks and was knocked out of the game. But do not overlook the reason for Purdy’s nightmare outing: a swarming, relentless Baltimore defense.
USA Today: 1 (Last week: 2)
Their overriding strength might be the lack of a glaring weakness – a too-frequent inability to salt away fourth-quarter leads notwithstanding. But that wasn’t an issue Monday night, when the Ravens went on the road and dismantled a Niners team that was a near-consensus No. 1 prior to kickoff. And don’t let Lamar Jackson and Co. get to the Super Bowl … considering the sixth-year quarterback is now 20-1 against the NFC.
Touchdown Wire: 1 (Last week: 2)
The defense picked off Brock Purdy four times, and the offense took advantage of their opportunities. It’s hard to argue that Lamar Jackson isn’t the MVP right now. He is playing as well as he ever has, and the Ravens just defeated the best team in football and stole their crown. This Ravens team is different — they very well could win the Super Bowl.
Sporting News: 1 (Last week: 2)
The Ravens proved their nasty, versatile deep pass rush that includes a resurgent Jadeveon Clowney backed by find secondary play is a massive asset against any high-flying offense with their pressure and interception fun in San Francisco on Monday night. Lamar Jackson also might be MVP again to boot.
Fox Sports: 1 (Last week: 2)
We’ve got to give the Ravens the appropriate amount of flowers. The 49ers have been the darlings of the league for most of the season. Baltimore didn’t just beat them; they beat them down. A thorough pantsing of the mighty Niners means the Ravens deserve their time in the sun as the NFL’s best team.
CBS Sports: 1 (Last week: 2)
Lamar Jackson stated his case as the league MVP in the blowout of the 49ers. The defense also came up big against a good offense. They are the top team.
New York Post: 1 (Last week: 2)
Put some respect on their name. A season of dominance – they hardly ever trail, especially in the first three quarters – might finally get some due after a 33-19 demolition of the NFC-best 49ers. Jackson combined for nearly 300 yards plus two touchdowns with his arm and his legs. Kyle Hamilton notched two interceptions but left the game injured.
Sharp Football Analysis: 1 (Last week: 2)
The Ravens passed their test with flying colors, turning over the 49ers’ seemingly unstoppable offense and cruising to an easy win. They get another test this week at home against the Dolphins. If they win that game, they will lock up the No. 1 seed before their season finale against the Steelers in Week 18.
Yahoo Sports: 1 (Last week: 2)
Wow. The Ravens changed the entire narrative of the 2023 NFL season in about three hours on Christmas night.
Pro Football Network: 1 (Last week: 2)
Christmas evening’s Ravens-49ers game was supposed to be a Super Bowl preview, but the matchup hardly lived up to the hype. Lamar Jackson increased his MVP chances by averaging 7.2 yards per pass attempt while throwing two touchdowns and adding 45 yards on the ground. Purdy’s collapse on the other side of the field didn’t hurt Lamar’s odds, either.
The 49ers outgained the Ravens, but Baltimore won the turnover battle 5-0. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s opportunistic defense can hold up against any offense, and their outstanding performance should get McDonald head coaching interviews next spring.
In the near term, the Ravens are atop the NFL universe. Baltimore can clinch the AFC’s No. 1 seed — giving John Harbaugh’s club a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage throughout the postseason — by taking down the Miami Dolphins next Sunday.
Bleacher Report: 1 (Last week: 2)
There is little question what the biggest statement win of Week 16 was. It’s the one that changed the No. 1 team in these power rankings, the one that lifted an AFC team to the top spot for the first time in a long time.
Of course, it was Baltimore’s beatdown of the 49ers in San Francisco.
This was a game the Ravens dominated in just about every facet. Lamar Jackson smoked one of the NFL’s best defenses for almost 300 total yards and two touchdowns while establishing himself as the clear front-runner to be named the NFL’s most valuable player. Baltimore’s defense forced five turnovers, notched four sacks, wrecked Brock Purdy’s MVP candidacy and knocked him from the game.
Sportsnaut: 1 (Last week: 2)
The team most well-equipped to limit the San Francisco 49ers offense is the Baltimore Ravens. We saw that after picking off five of San Francisco’s 46 pass attempts. This Ravens defense showed it will capitalize if you make mistakes, all while Lamar Jackson plays nearly flawlessly on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Polished on both sides, the Ravens are the best NFL team right now and this might finally be the year they make a deep playoff run.