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  • Writer's pictureStone Lexington

Updated NFL power rankings: Baltimore Ravens flying high above the field

Lamar Jackson

With only one week remaining in the regular season, several NFL teams are jockeying for a place in the postseason. Three slots are available in the AFC, while two spots are still attainable in the NFC race. Two division winners have yet to be settled, as three teams sit atop the AFC South with 9-7 records (Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans) and two teams are vying for the NFC South crown (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints). Below are the teams that sit atop the latest NFL power rankings.


Dallas Cowboys

When Dallas (11-5) lost its first game of the season in Week 3, it was stupefying that the Cowboys fell by double digits to an Arizona Cardinals team that entered the season with extremely low expectations and a starting quarterback on injured reserve. Ironically, the Cardinals aided Dallas in Week 17 by defeating the Eagles 35-31 in Philadelphia, a result that was equally shocking as the Cowboys’ Week 3 loss to Arizona. With the Eagles loss coupled with Dallas’ controversial victory over the Detroit Lions on Saturday night, the Cowboys have vaulted to the No. 2 seed in the NFC heading into Week 18 with an opportunity to secure the NFC East title with a win over the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field on Sunday.


Miami Dolphins

With the No. 1 seed in the AFC and a division title on the line, not to mention another opportunity to defeat a good team on the road, the Miami Dolphins (11-5) fell flat on their face in a 56-19 drubbing at the hands of the Ravens. With the loss, the door for the Bills to secure their fourth straight division title has been opened, as Miami and Buffalo will meet in Week 18 for the AFC East crown. What could work in the Dolphins’ favor on Sunday is that they will face the Bills at home, where they’ve lost only one game this season. Miami, however, already has a loss to the Bills this season, a 48-20 beatdown in Buffalo in Week 4.


Cleveland Browns

Behind the remarkable resurgence of former rival Joe Flacco, the Cleveland Browns (11-5) have won four straight games and seem to be surging as the regular season nears its end. Cleveland’s latest victory came against the New York Jets, a 37-20 Thursday night celebration off the shores of Lake Erie, as the Browns clinched just their second playoff berth since the 2002 season. Since Flacco joined the team in late November and took over the starting job in Week 13, the Browns’ offense has excelled in ways unrealized earlier in the season. During the current winning streak, Cleveland is averaging 31 points per game and Flacco has surpassed 300 yards passing in each outing. The Browns will close the regular season in Cincinnati against the Bengals on Sunday, where they’ll have an opportunity to finish with 12 wins in a regular season for the first time since 1986.


San Francisco 49ers

One week after suffering a blowout loss to the Ravens in Week 16, the San Francisco 49ers (12-4) bounced back with a 27-10 victory over the floundering Washington Commanders. With the win over Washington, San Francisco clinched the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. Barring injury, the 49ers will be a heavy favorite to reach Super Bowl LVIII, as they’ve already dominated several of the other NFC contenders this season. Also equipped with a top five offense and scoring defense, it would be considered a disappointment if San Francisco didn’t make it to Las Vegas in February.


Baltimore Ravens

With a dominant 56-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens (12-4) have secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Ravens will have a bye in the first round of the postseason and a home game in the divisional round at M&T Bank Stadium, where they’re 6-2 at this season. Baltimore last won a playoff game in the 2020 season and when the postseason arrives in January, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will have another opportunity to add to his growing legacy. Jackson may have wrapped up his second MVP award with the win over Miami over the weekend, but whether he and the Ravens achieve their desired success in the playoffs will define the narrative that surrounds him and the team.


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