Are the Ravens Just a Great Regular-Season Team?

Scott Engel
Last Updated: Nov 10, 2023

The Baltimore Ravens have won four consecutive games, and they now place in the top three in the NFL Power Rankings on most sites. After another impressive victory, many NFL analysts mark them as surefire Super Bowl contenders.

After a 34-point demolition of Seattle, Baltimore has the fourth-best odds to win Super Bowl 58 at +900 on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Anyone can make a strong case that they should have better odds than the San Francisco 49ers (+600). The Niners have lost three straight, and while their QB has exceeded expectations overall, he still has much to prove.

The Ravens might be playing at the highest level of any team in the NFL right now. As is their team tradition, the defense is leading the way and has the look of a championship unit.

Baltimore leads the NFL in sacks (35), points allowed (13.8), offensive TDs allowed (nine), yards per play (4.08), red zone TD percentage (33.3), and opposing quarterback rating (69.7).

Free safety Geno Stone leads the NFL with six interceptions, the most by any Ravens player ever through the first nine games of a season. Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike leads all NFL interior linemen with 7.5 sacks.

The Ravens have beaten the Cincinnati Bengals and the Lions by 32 in addition to their rout of the Seahawks.

While Cincinnati did not have a fully healthy Joe Burrow in that Bengals loss, the Ravens impressed everyone in the NFL world with their lopsided wins over the Lions and Seahawks. Baltimore also beat another playoff contender, the Cleveland Browns, by 25 points and can score another credible victory in the rematch this week.

Baltimore owns the league’s best scoring differential (+115). Second-year defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and new offensive coordinator Todd Monken are receiving much external and internal praise.

“The Ravens have been continuously trending upward all season, and they have dominating wins against good teams. [Lamar] Jackson is playing the best ball of his career under offensive coordinator Todd Monken, and Mike Macdonald might be the best defensive coordinator in the league right now,” said Ted Nguyen, NFL analyst for The Athletic.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has watched Monken guide the offense to the top of the league in rushing yards per game (160.3), rushing TDs (17), and red zone TDs (26). Baltimore has been a top rushing team annually, and Lamar Jackson now leads the NFL in completion percentage at a career-high 71.5 clip.

“Todd’s leadership and coaching acumen were evident from the beginning. He has a proven track record for designing and teaching offensive systems that allow players to succeed at the highest level,” Harbaugh said.

The formula for success under Harbaugh is a familiar one. Dominate on defense, with the running game, and Jackson playing at his highest levels since the 2019 season, the Ravens are hard to beat.

But we are all viewing the Ravens through a regular season lens, and while Harbaugh is a proven Super Bowl-winning head coach, his superstar QB has yet to enjoy any notable success in the postseason. In his career in the NFL playoffs, Jackson has lost three of four games.

In those four postseason games, Jackson has three TD passes and five interceptions, and while he has two 100-yard rushing games, he only has one rushing TD and two games with under 55 rushing yards. In Jackson’s MVP season of 2019, the Ravens won 14 games and were knocked out of the playoffs in their first game by the Tennessee Titans.

It’s certainly possible for Jackson to put that all behind him and lead his team on a deep playoff run for the first time in his NFL career. But I won’t rank the Ravens ahead of other established top playoff teams and players who have already accomplished more in the postseason.

Anyone who wants to award the Ravens the top spot in their NFL Power Rankings is free to do so. Baltimore may finish as the best regular-season team.

But my personal power rankings won’t have the Ravens above the No. 4 spot, with the Philadelphia Eagles first, the Kansas City Chiefs second, and the Cincinnati Bengals third. When the playoffs begin, I would prefer to ride with the teams that have already shown they know how to win big and significant postseason games.

The Chiefs still have the best odds to win Super Bowl 58 at +475. Despite the offense’s inconsistency, Kansas City’s defense may be better than last season, and Patrick Mahomes can get things figured out at playoff time.

The widespread finger-pointing at the lack of playmakers at WR has been a popular narrative, but the Chiefs had a mediocre crew at the position last year when they won the Super Bowl. I am much more confident in betting on a two-time Super Bowl champion QB to overcome offensive issues.

Baltimore has one star player on offense, and Jackson’s pass-catching cast outside of TE Mark Andrews leaves much to be desired. Rookie Zay Flowers is promising, but he is still a work in progress, as evidenced by his one TD reception and failure to reach 80 yards in a game.

Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman have often been non-factors, and they have combined for one TD reception. Andrews has six of the team’s 10 TD catches. Thin receiving groups have been an annual problem for Jackson throughout his career.

Even though there is no star power at RB, you cannot overlook the success of the Baltimore running game. But the Eagles (+550 to win Super Bowl 58) have already won a conference championship, as have the Bengals, who are a terrific Super Bowl bet at +1200 right now, and both of those teams easily outclass the Ravens at the skill positions on offense.

Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, and Burrow have all taken their teams to Super Bowls. Cincinnati has recaptured its best form. I rank the team’s current version ahead of Baltimore in my own power rankings, which reward for recent playoff success, and don’t get too heavily swayed by regular season recency alone.

I will give the Ravens all the credit for how great they have looked so far, and Baltimore can erase the playoff failures that have persisted during the Jackson era. But until proven otherwise, I harbor lingering skepticism about their postseason outlook.


Scott Engel

Scott Engel is a Senior Sports Writer at The Game Day. Previously he was at and The Athletic. His work is also featured at RotoBaller and on Scott is a host on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. He is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Scott is a four-time FSWA award winner and a 13-time finalist. He was an Associate Editor and featured writer at and his career began at CBS SportsLine, where he was a Senior Writer and Managing Editor. Scott was the Managing Director at RotoExperts.

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