Nothing tells fans that the NFL is back more than the regular season’s initial power rankings for Week 1.
Baltimore will enter 2023 with growing expectations, and they’re starting to pick up steam as a Darkhorse Super Bowl candidate.
With the first game-week practice of the regular season set to begin, we’re looking at where the Ravens landed in the power rankings roundup.
Eric Edholm has Baltimore in the top ten, landing at No. 7.
Cornerback has been the position earning the most preseason hand-wringing, considering the injuries the Ravens have incurred there. But what about the pass rush? Tyus Bowser will miss at least the first four weeks on the non-football injury list. That likely means Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo and Jadeveon Clowney will be the top three rushers for the first month of the season, and Ojabo has missed some practice time with injury. Oweh is likely to be a better player than we saw a year ago, but this setup puts him squarely in the spotlight in a pivotal Year 3. The pass rush can help mitigate any issues in the secondary, but that’s only if this group shows early on it can significantly impact games.
ESPN has Baltimore at No. 8 overall.
Post-draft ranking: 8
On the hot seat: WR Rashod Bateman
This season will determine whether the Ravens pick up Bateman’s fifth-year option next offseason. The No. 27 pick in 2021 has struggled to stay on the field, missing a total of 16 games in his first two seasons. He has flashes where he looks like a No. 1 wide receiver, but he has produced only three career touchdowns. It’s going to be more challenging for Bateman to get catches this season after Baltimore signed Odell Beckham Jr. and drafted Zay Flowers in the first round. — Jamison Hensley
The Athletic has Baltimore at No. 6 overall in the first installment.
Best-case scenario: After taking a few games to fully grasp the concept of “wide receivers” and being encouraged to “throw” the ball to the outside, Lamar Jackson sets a new high for passing yards and starts every game of the season for the first time in his career. Zay Flowers wins Offensive Rookie of the Year and Odell Beckham Jr. turns back the clock. On the other side of the ball, Mike Macdonald continues to look like one of the best young defensive coordinators in football as Marlon Humphrey returns ahead of schedule and Roquan Smith puts to rest concerns about resource allocation at his position.
USA Today has Baltimore at No. 8.
8. Ravens (7): A bit mystifying that QB Lamar Jackson played zero preseason snaps even as Baltimore installs an entirely different offense under new coordinator Todd Monken? Maybe, but opening at home against Houston should be preseason enough for Jackson and Co.
Yahoo Sports has the Ravens at No. 10 overall.
10. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 10)
Jadeveon Clowney was a late signing and while he’s a big name as a former No. 1 overall draft pick, don’t overstate his potential impact. He’ll be a good role player. He helps because the Ravens were thin at outside linebacker, a possible problem on an otherwise solid roster.
CBS Sports has the Ravens landing at No. 8.
Lamar Jackson will be fun to watch playing for Todd Monken in the new offense. The defense has some major questions, which have to be answered if they are to be a Super Bowl contender.
Sports Illustrated -- 11
Connor Orr has Baltimore ranked 11th to start the season.
Baltimore’s success this season hinges on the streamlining of its new offense, which may look wildly different, or will just present a different way to overwork Mark Andrews into exhaustion. The Ravens come in at No. 12 because, as exciting as their roster is on paper, there is still the whole business of breaking in a rookie wide receiver to be a focal point in an offense. The Ravens’ defense, on the other hand, will begin the season lights out.
PFF has Baltimore in the top 10.
10. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Biggest impact player from the draft: WR Zay Flowers
Pre-Draft Ranking: 9
Despite signing Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor in free agency, the Ravens continued to add to their receiver room by drafting Zay Flowers in the first round. Both Rashod Bateman and Beckham should help Baltimore in the intermediate part of the field, while Flowers can serve as the team’s deep threat and premier after-the-catch receiver. The rookie should also see action on screens and jet sweeps.
Fox Sports has Baltimore at No. 6 overall.
6. Baltimore Ravens
It all looks so, so fun on paper. Finally, an electric talent like Lamar Jackson is teamed with weapons like Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers. In reality, the big question is how quickly Jackson and his playmakers can jell with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. If they can hit the ground running, this could be one of the most entertaining attacks in the league. They’ll need to be in order to offset their lacking pass rush, not to mention Marlon Humphrey’s lingering foot injury.
Bleacher Report has Baltimore at No. 9 overall.
In Beckham, tight end Mark Andrews and wide receivers Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman, the Ravens have surrounded Jackson with the best passing-game talent of his career. Baltimore’s defense was 10th in the league a year ago.
If Jackson can stay healthy in 2023, the Ravens could be a threat to more than just the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.
They could be a threat to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVIII.
Sportsnaut has Baltimore at No. 8.
It all comes down to health with the Baltimore Ravens. Ronnie Stanley, Lamar Jackson and Marlon Humphrey have all missed substantial time in the last two seasons. It’s one of the biggest reasons why Baltimore has fallen short of expectations so often. But styles make fights and the Ravens can match up with anyone in the league when everyone is available. One thing is for certain, Baltimore’s passing attack will look far better this fall than it did in the previous two years.
Mike Florio has Baltimore outside the top 10.
12. Ravens: The Ravens have the players, but Todd Monken has never been confused with Bill Walsh. They need the offense to work if they hope to seriously contend.