Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So normally I scoff at power rankings. At the end of the regular season it's about who wins the most games, not what some experts think. And at the end of the playoffs it's still about who won. Screw the odds makers and expert picks. Power rankings are basically something for people to talk about during the week between football games. Oh, ESPN says they're the best, whatever. In college football the rankings only matter because the BCS is worthless and ridiculous. But in the NFL they are completely and totally pointless. Except for this week.
This week I'm taking the chance to tell everyone that the Ravens are ranked No. 1 by ESPN and Yahoo! I don't care that it's two weeks into the season. I don't care that the Ravens can't seem to stop the pass. Right now there are impartial experts out there saying the Ravens are the best in league. And I like that. So whatever, I'll shelf my basic belief that the rankings are worthless for a week. (They are worthless.) But they do serve as a reason to bring up the Ravens and gloat about them.
The Ravens beat the Chargers, another AFC perennial powerhouse, 31-26 on Sunday. The game was exhilarating to watch with one of the best hits I've seen Ray Ray make in a long time. It was timely, hard and a game winner. Say what you will about Ray Lewis loosing a step or piling on but this hit was nasty.
This year's team is determined to win. Whether through the air or with a stifling defense. Yes, they have to improve against the pass. But the gains they've made on their own offense are startling. Watch out this week when the Browns come to town for a divisional match-up. The Browns look to under preform against everyone this season. Even the Bengals have already beaten what was supposed to be a good team, the Packers. Next week the Ravens will look to improve their play and wash away any doubt that they are a team to be reckoned with.
The thing I believe most contributed to the Ravens topping the rankings this week is the emergence of Joe Flacco as a legitimate passing threat. Two games into the season and I heard him being called the best deep passer in the NFL on ESPN a few days ago. Ok, so I guess that was one week into the season. Regardless, not since the one great season with McNair have the Ravens had a legitimate threat at quarterback. That year they won 13 games. Last year, with a rookie, they went to the AFC Championship game. This year it looks like the pieces are coming together and great things should be expected of this team.
On that note, GO RAVENS, and here's Lewis's hit on Sproles:
Photo: ESPN/AP/Denis Poroy