The majority of national pundits are much higher on the Baltimore Ravens after an impressive outing by their short-handed defense and an offensive attack that was both well balanced and well executed in a Week 2 road win over their division rival Cincinnati Bengals. Now, it’s time to see where the team lands among the NFL landscape of power rankings heading into Week 3.
The Athletic: 5 (Last week: 8)
Quarterback Lamar Jackson is quickly getting comfortable in offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s system. After totaling 207 yards in Week 1, Jackson had 291 in Week 2 (237 passing, 54 rushing). He was 8-for-9 passing for 96 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.
CBS Sports: 5 (Last week: 6)
The offense came alive against the Bengals for the first time under new coordinator Todd Monken after slogging through the opener. Lamar Jackson is going to be fun to watch in that offense.
Sportsnaut: 5 (Last Week: 6)
Facing one of the AFC’s best teams in the last two years, the Baltimore Ravens played without Ronnie Stanley, J.K. Dobbins, Marcus Williams, Marlon Humphrey and Tyler Linderbaum. It didn’t matter. Baltimore demonstrated why it’s the best team in the AFC North right now and what should concern NFL teams even more, is how quickly Lamar Jackson is getting acclimated to the new-look offense.
Fox Sports: 6 (Last week: 6)
I loved the way Baltimore got the ball back, up 3 against Cincinnati with 3:28 to play and promptly ran the clock out. Lamar Jackson is off to a phenomenal start in this more pass-heavy offense, but the Ravens are still showing the ability to move the ball on the ground when there’s a need. Feels important.
ESPN: 6 (Last week: 6)
Player: LB Patrick Queen
Current contract situation: Under contract through the 2023 season
Queen is in the final year of his rookie deal ($2.268 million) and is scheduled to become a free agent in March after Baltimore declined his fifth-year option. He knows this season is essentially an audition for the other 31 teams in the league. His long-term future in Baltimore likely ended last year, when the Ravens traded for Roquan Smith and then made him the highest-paid middle linebacker. Early in his career, Queen struggled in coverage and missed tackles. Now, playing alongside Smith, Queen has become an all-around playmaker. Since 2020, Queen is one of three players to record more than 300 tackles, double-digit sacks and multiple interceptions. The others: Smith and Bobby Wagner.
Pro Football Talk: 6 (Last week: 9)
6. Ravens (2-0, No. 9): It’s pretty good to be winning games while still working out the kinks of a new offense.
Pro Football Network: 7 (Last week: 9)
When Lamar Jackson has been kept clean in the pocket so far in 2023, he has been outrageously effective. Zay Flowers looks like a legitimate No. 1 so far through two weeks of play, and getting Mark Andrews back against the Bengals was a welcome sight.
The game itself remained relatively close throughout. But it was clear who the better team was on the field in Week 2. Cincinnati might be the better team by the time their Week 11 rematch comes up on the calendar, but like last year, the team must improve before then.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore defense is fast. Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith are flying to the football at the second level, and the speed Baltimore possesses on the edge causes problems.
The Ringer: 7 (Last week: 8)
After some preseason and early-season injuries (notably to tackle Ronnie Stanley, center Tyler Linderbaum, and running back J.K. Dobbins), there was a moment when it looked like 2023 would be another what-could-have-been year for Baltimore. But Lamar Jackson is in near-peak form under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, Odell Beckham Jr. looks like his old self, Zay Flowers is an early contributor as a rookie, and the defense has been one of the best in football (ranking sixth in expected points added per drive through the first two games). This team is even getting meaningful contributions from Nelson Agholor. Watch out—the Ravens may just be back.
Sports Illustrated: 7 (Last week: 9)
Some of the new accouterments in Baltimore’s offense are intriguing. Their misdirection run offense has been taken to another level, and doesn’t even require Jackson to dangle himself as bait. Jackson, too, seems like a more confident passer who is more alert and set in the pocket while he’s making aggressive throws downfield. There are many more layers to this offense. We should buckle up.
Sporting News: 7 (Last week: 9)
The Ravens’ new-look offense is a work in progress for Lamar Jackson, but so far, so good, with better overall running and passing. The defense seems OK giving up more in the passing game if it can stop the run and make the key situational plays. Baltimore is back being the team to beat in the AFC North.
Yahoo Sports: 7 (Last week: 10)
Beating the Texans at home was expected. But to go on the road without four starters and knock off the Bengals in pretty easy fashion was impressive. It’s no surprise the Ravens are competitive again. They always are under John Harbaugh. Maybe there’s a deep playoff run coming. They’re a team worth watching closely.
NFL.com: 7 (Last week: 10)
The Ravens’ defense came up with timely stops in Week 2, and extra credit goes to an undermanned cornerback group that held up extremely well against the Bengals’ skill-position talent. It really was encouraging that the new offense found a way to finish off a big game with some old-school Ravens power. Todd Monken’s attack fed multiple mouths, with nine players receiving three or more touches, and Baltimore’s heavy sets ground down the Bengals’ front. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Running the ball as well as the Ravens did without J.K. Dobbins sent a clear message to the rest of the AFC: They’re not stopping Baltimore’s ground game anytime soon.
Sharp Football Analysis: 7 (Last week: 10)
Even with all the injuries to the offensive line and secondary, the Ravens left Cincinnati with a win and 178 yards on the ground. With Joe Burrow hurt, Nick Chubb out for the season, and Kenny Pickett struggling, the Ravens are suddenly in a great position to win what once looked like a tough division.
USA Today: 7 (Last week: 11)
Maybe it was the return of TE Mark Andrews, maybe it was a week of familiarity in new OC Todd Monken’s offense, but QB Lamar Jackson looked much better in Week 2. A team off to a hot start is benefitting from a scalding defensive pace, Baltimore’s D allowing 23 yards in the first quarter this season.
Touchdown Wire: 7 (Last week: 12)
Zay Flowers is quickly becoming the best player on the Ravens’ offense not named Lamar Jackson. My worries about Baltimore are already coming true, though. Odell Beckham Jr. is already hurt- again. J.K. Dobbins is gone for the season, multiple players in their secondary are gone- they can’t stay healthy. They play a dynamic Colts team this coming week, which could be a trap game if Baltimore takes Indianapolis lightly.
Walterfootball.com: 7 (Last: 13)
The Ravens were so sloppy in their opening-week win, but that was attributed to looking ahead to their battle against the Bengals. Despite missing two offensive linemen and two key members of their secondary, the Ravens were able to outgain the Bengals by about 130 yards.
Bleacher Report: 8 (Last week: 9)
Week 2 is a little early in the year for statement games.
But it can be argued that Baltimore’s road win over the Cincinnati Bengals was one. Yes, the Ravens won by only three, but Baltimore controlled the game from start to finish against the reigning AFC North champions and the team that bounced the Ravens from last year’s playoffs. The Ravens played well in all facets.