Ravens finally getting the respect they deserve after Week 9

Ravens. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Ravens. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens made a statement win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 9 and are finally being considered serious Super Bowl contenders in 2022.

It only took nine weeks, but the league is starting to respect the Ravens again. After finishing last in the AFC North with a sub-.500 record in 2021, Baltimore has bounced back to reclaim the division and make a concerted push for a top playoff seed after the bye week.

The team should see plenty of injured stars return to the lineup in the coming weeks, and as an added bonus, the Ravens also have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league.

Lamar Jackson’s passing game could use some work and the wide receiver position group remains a bit thin, yet there are very few holes in the Ravens’ otherwise complete roster.

CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani sorted out the NFL contenders and pretenders halfway through the season and had the Ravens in the former group:

"“The Ravens are a new addition to the “contenders” category. The main reason why is because of the improvement shown on defense. That 27-13 win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night was impressive. The Saints came into that matchup with the No. 3 offense in the NFL, averaging 394.4 yards per game, but this Ravens defense held them to just 243 total yards.”"

The Baltimore Ravens have entered the Super Bowl conversation in 2022

The other contenders in the league are fairly obvious: the Buffalo Bills, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the currently undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.

Dajani also throws the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings in the group, which is more up for debate.

In any case, the Ravens belong in that group as much as the other AFC heavyweights and boast one of the deepest squads supplemented by a flurry of under-the-radar moves this past year. Kenyan Drake, Justin Houston, and Demarcus Robinson stand out as incredibly valuable bargain-bin additions who have earned every snap so far this season.

Drake and Houston came up big for Baltimore in Week 9 as Drake led the rushing attack and Houston notched a whopping 2.5 sacks — both players’ starting jobs are in jeopardy after the bye with Gus Edwards and Tyus Bowser returning to full health, yet they have made a strong case for deserving at least a rotational role in the future.

Roquan Smith, Justin Houston ascend to new heights in satisfying Week 9 victory. dark. Next

Just a year ago, the Cincinnati Bengals were firmly the favorites to run away with the AFC North and achieve postseason glory, but oh, how the times have changed.