The majority of national pundits still view the Baltimore Ravens as the undisputed best team in the league coming off the divisional round of the playoffs although some have them at No.2 and one even put them as low as four. Now, it’s time to see where the team lands among the NFL landscape of power rankings heading into the divisional round where they have the week off while on bye.
NFL.com: 1 (Last week: 1)
Baltimore has turned over the roster in many areas since the 14-2 campaign in 2019, but some Ravens from that team remain, and they remember how that season ended: with a 28-12 thud of a loss to the Titans at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore outgained Tennessee, 530-300, but turned the ball over on seven of its 11 possessions (four turnovers on downs, two picks and a fumble). Lamar Jackson is one of the players who was there then and is here now — and he and John Harbaugh know better than anyone else how closely this coming Divisional Round game will be tied to their legacies, with only one postseason victory as a duo to this point. Baltimore looked like the best team in football down the stretch of the regular season, and that’s the team people are expecting to see in the of the playoffs. What does it take to beat No. 1? The Ravens do almost everything well, even if their run defense and pass protection can leak a little from time to time. They’re the clear favorites in this derby, although a few shocking Super Wild Card Weekend results must have put them on their toes a little bit.
Touchdown Wire: 1 (Last week: 1)
Well, we’ve been here before with the Ravens. They ran through everyone in the regular season and when it came time to play, they collapsed. This team is much different than that 2019 team, though. Lamar Jackson has come a long way as a passer, and is frankly a different kind of player in 2024 than he was in 2020. Baltimore can make it to their first AFC Championship Game in over a decade with a win, but Houston isn’t just going to give it to them.
Fox Sports: 1 (Last week: 1)
The only blemish on the Ravens’ otherwise sterling reputation is a 2-5 playoff record in the decade since they won Super Bowl XLVII. Their mark with Lamar Jackson starting is just 1-3. Wins might not be a quarterback stat, but we can assume Jackson will catch some serious heat if his MVP campaign is derailed by the upstart Texans.
The 33rd Team: 1 (Last week: 1)
The Baltimore Ravens finished with the NFL’s best record, behind the league’s best defense and its likely MVP, QB Lamar Jackson. Coming off their bye, the Ravens will host the Texans, who they beat decisively on opening day. Many of Baltimore’s key players sat for the regular season finale, giving them two weeks of rest. The Ravens are the better, more experienced team. Consistency is the foundation for the Ravens’ success throughout this century. If Baltimore beats Houston, the pressure will be on the Ravens in the AFC Championship. Whether they face Buffalo or Kansas City, both AFC powerhouses have more experience in these situations.
Sharp Football Analysis: 1 (Last week: 1)
Unlike the NFC, the top four seeds in the AFC advanced, setting up a chalk second round. The Ravens already beat the Texans way back in Week 1, but they will face a much different C.J. Stroud and Texans running game this time around. The defense could have their hands full on Saturday.
Pro Football Network: 1 (Last week: 1)
Baltimore might also have to battle brain drain, as coordinators Todd Monken and Mike Macdonald, along with executives Joe Hortiz and Nick Matteo, are drawing interest during the NFL’s hiring cycle. Head coach John Harbaugh and GM Eric DeCosta constructed one of the league’s best rosters, and it’s no surprise the NFL’s other clubs want to bring in their deputies.
Arizona Republic: 1 (Last week: 1)
The Ravens will face the Texans in the Divisional Round. We like their chances against Houston, but the game could be closer than people think.
CBS Sports: 2 (Last week: 1)
Baltimore enters the playoffs with a healthy Jackson and the regular season’s top-ranked scoring defense. Jackson will probably win his second league MVP of his career after throwing more than three times as many touchdown passes as interceptions and also leading the Ravens in rushing. It’s safe to say Jackson enjoys playing in first year OC Todd Monken’s offense.
As great as Jackson is, he won’t get his just due until he wins a Super Bowl. That may happen this season as long as Jackson stays healthy. If Baltimore is able to win it all, it’ll likely be because of Jackson and a defense that tallied 60 sacks and 18 interceptions during the regular season.
Sporting News: 4 (Last week: 2)
The Ravens can’t look past the red-hot Texans in the divisional round in Baltimore, despite blowing them out to start the regular season at home. Lamar Jackson needs to be confident in his passing but also not eschew explosive running, much like Allen. The pass rush with former Texans Jadeveon Clowney needs to deliver as the ultimate defensive calling card.