The majority of national pundits view the Baltimore Ravens as a top-three team and some even have them as the second-best team in the league even though they didn’t play in Week 13 while on bye. Now, it’s time to see where the team lands among the NFL landscape of power rankings heading into Week 14.
The Athletic: 2 (Last week: 2)
Worst case: Roquan Smith regression
Since the Ravens sent the Bears second- and fifth-round picks for Smith on Oct. 31 last year, Baltimore is first in the NFL in yards per play allowed (4.5), third in defensive success rate (62 percent) and third in EPA per snap (12.8). In that span, the linebacker is fourth in the league in defensive splash plays (66), according to TruMedia. Sure, Lamar Jackson is integral to Baltimore’s success, but don’t overlook Smith’s impact.
NFL.com: 2 (Last week: 2)
After 12 straight weeks of games — including a trek across the pond to London, two separate West Coast trips and consecutive prime-time games — the Ravens more than earned their rest during the Week 13 bye. Even with a few slip-ups to their name, they’ve put themselves in a great spot to win the division and make a run at the AFC’s top playoff seed — and others have helped. The Steelers and Browns both lost Sunday, greasing the division skids a bit, and the Chiefs lost, making the path to a first-round bye smoother. The good news: Baltimore controls its fate. The bad: The schedule is a bear, with games remaining against Jacksonville and Miami, two teams also gunning for the top spot. There’s also a possible Super Bowl preview on Dec. 25: Ravens at 49ers. Merry Christmas, everyone.
Fox Sports: 2 (Last week: 2)
There’s no need to move the Ravens during a week off, but all five of their remaining games are against teams in the playoff race. That gives them plenty of time to grab the top spot.
The Ringer: 2 (Last week: 4)
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.
Sharp Football Analysis: 2 (Last week: 3)
The Ravens got to watch both the Chiefs and Jaguars lose during their bye week. Not a bad vacation. Baltimore has nothing but tough games left, starting with the Rams this week, but they have an open path to the No. 1 seed. Their game against the Dolphins in Week 17 could go a long way in deciding that.
Yahoo Sports: 3 (Last week: 4)
The Ravens still have games left against the Jaguars and Dolphins, two of the other top contenders for the AFC’s No. 1 seed (they also have to face the 49ers). There are a lot of high-stakes games left for the best teams in the AFC this season. Whoever gets the all-important top seed will have earned it.
ESPN: 4 (Last week: 3)
Pleasant surprise: DT Justin Madubuike
Madubuike has gone from being a very good player to an All-Pro. He has dominated the interior of the line, becoming the first Ravens player since Terrell Suggs in 2017 to record double-digit sacks in a season with 10 so far. A third-round pick in 2020, Madubuike had 8.5 sacks in his first three seasons combined (42 games). This year, a contract year, he has recorded at least a half-sack in nine straight games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL. “He’s walked in this year with just mission-minded [focus] from the beginning,” Ravens defensive line coach Anthony Weaver said. “I’m talking about in March, and to see it all come to fruition has been awesome.”
USA Today: 2 (Last week: 4)
Hope you’re well rested, fellas. Sunday’s game against the Rams, who are in eighth place overall in the NFC, is Baltimore’s only remaining contest against an opponent not currently projected to reach postseason.
Sports Illustrated: 3 (Last week: 4)
The No. 1 defense and No. 7 offense in the NFL emerges from its bye week to face the hot Los Angeles Rams. Amid Mike Macdonald’s masterpiece of a season, all that is left to see is how strong the Ravens will finish. Unfortunately for John Harbaugh, a renaissance season could also trigger the pilfering of his coaching staff.
Sporting News: 3 (Last week: 4)
The Ravens got a much-needed bye to help them regroup for the stretch run in a tough AFC North and a tight playoff picture at the top of the conference. Lamar Jackson should adjust better in the passing game without Mark Andrews with increased trust in his wide receivers, while Baltimore’s defense will look to get stingier vs. the pass.
Bleacher Report: 3 (Last week: 4)
Head coach John Harbaugh gave his team the week off, believing that the Ravens needed rest more than reps on the practice field. He said that this off week was all about recharging ahead of the stretch run.
“This is a beneficial time,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to try and make the most of it and then be ready to roll for what’s going to be the toughest schedule in football for the next five weeks.”
Harbaugh isn’t joking about Baltimore’s schedule the rest of the way—it’s quite the gauntlet. After a home date with the Los Angeles Rams next week, the Ravens draw four straight against teams with winning records—trips to Jacksonville and San Francisco, a showdown with the Miami Dolphins in Baltimore and then a home date with the rival Steelers that could carry immense stakes. To get the No. 1 seed, the Ravens are going to have to earn it.
Sportsnaut: 3 (Last week: 4)
The Baltimore Ravens have the talent to be the best team in the NFL and they are one of the most well-rounded teams in the league. Yet, we can’t help but feel an absence of confidence in the Ravens for a playoff run. This team makes too many mistakes, especially in the fourth quarter. To change that reputation and erase doubts, Baltimore needs to play clean football in December.
Walterfootball.com: 3 (Last week: 4)
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.
Touchdown Wire: 5 (Last week: 3)
So much went on involving the other four teams ahead of the Ravens while they were on their bye week. They remain in the top five, though, despite all the moving parts.
CBS Sports: 5 (Last week: 6)
They come off their bye with a tough stretch. They have the Rams this week, followed by a Sunday night road game at Jacksonville and a road game at San Francisco.
Pro Football Network: 6 (Last week: 6)
The Ravens enter their Week 13 bye with the seventh-best offensive EPA and the second-best defense. Defensively, there have been few units over the past decade that have been more impressive. They’re incredibly well-coached by Mike MacDonald and possess impressive talent on the second and third levels of the defense.
Lamar Jackson is an offensive cheat code. If Baltimore’s offense takes care of the football and avoids unnecessary turnovers, they are one of the most difficult teams in the league to manage against.