3. Baltimore Ravens
The Patriots came to M&T Bank Stadium last November riding an 8-0 undefeated streak. They were the class of the NFL and the undisputed top dog in most analysts’ power rankings at the time. Talk of the team going 16-0 for the second time in franchise (and league) history didn’t seem unfounded or insane in the slightest.
And then came Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, and the Ravens.
Baltimore humbled New England to the tune of 37-20. It could’ve been a lot worse, too — the Ravens raced out to an early 17-0 advantage by the time the second quarter was just beginning, leaving the defending champs looking old and out of sorts along the way.
A couple of costly Baltimore mistakes allowed the Pats to get back into the game and pull within four points at the half, but the Ravens scored three touchdowns to the Patriots’ one in the second half, and that was that.
The scary thing if you’re a New Englander is that this Ravens team may very well be even better in 2020, whereas you’d be hard-pressed to think the same about the Pats.
Jackson will be entering his third season in the NFL and his second as the unquestioned full-time starter of his team. He’s coming off a season in which he led the league in passing touchdowns and QBR while still rushing for over 1,200 yards.
Oh, and he won league MVP as well.
The Ravens are excellent in all three phases of the game. They are definitive favorites in the AFC North, and they could easily claim the conference’s No. 1 seed in the playoff pecking order by the time 2020 comes to an end.