AFC North Power Rankings: Ravens still have something to prove

Ravens, Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ravens, AFC North
Ravens, AFC North Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Baltimore Ravens, 8-3, first in AFC North

Despite being atop the division — and holding the AFC’s number one seed — I just don’t see the Ravens as the strongest team in the division.

The Ravens do have a lot of talent, and they’ve found production and value from many spots on the roster as they’ve dealt with rotten injury luck. They’ve also managed to overcome plenty of in-game adversity, often self-inflicted, which are both achievements worthy of praise.

It just won’t be sustainable, though. Eventually, against teams who don’t make mistakes and play solid football in every phase, the Ravens will be exposed — as the Bengals did in Week 7.

The Ravens ultimately have too many significant flaws, and far too much inconsistency, to be trusted. Be it the pass protection or ground game, poor tackling, or the pass defense, every week requires a unit or certain players to be perfect to lift the team to victory.

So far, the Ravens have found a way to do that. However, they now enter the most critical period of the season in streaky form and face a brutal schedule.

Baltimore will face the Steelers this week before a return game against the Browns, then will face the Green Bay Packers, Bengals, and Los Angeles Rams, before finishing with Pittsburgh again.

The Ravens cannot afford to slip up in any of their division games with how congested the AFC is.

Regardless of their current form, no game against the Steelers is easy and I expect these games to be tight. Playing the Browns in such quick succession with Cleveland coming off a bye is less than ideal, and a loss to the Bengals would almost certainly hand them the division.

Meanwhile, the Packers may be the strongest team in the NFL, and the Rams have so much talent they are always a threat to have a monster game.

The Ravens are in a great position — they control their own destiny and the No. 1 seed in the AFC — but there is a lot of work ahead to hold onto it.