If you’re the type that gets into the weekly power rankings that are put together by various national media outlets, you might feel a little snubbed this week.
While the Ravens dismantled the Steelers (a Super Bowl team from last year, mind you) 35-7 on Sunday, Baltimore ranked among the top-three NFL teams in just one of the four power rankings that I looked at.
ESPN.com had the Ravens slotted fourth in the league, behind the Packers, Patriots and Eagles; FOXSports.com had Baltimore fourth, behind Green Bay, San Diego and New England; NFL.com had the Ravens second, with the Packers above them; while CBSSports.com voted the Ravens fifth.
I put absolutely zero stock in these power rankings; they’re just a tool fans can use to debate and get into the action during the week.
But fifth? Seriously? After that demolition of the Steelers?
Those in the Ravens’ locker room haven’t noticed where their team stands in the weekly power rankings, and they don’t care to. That’s clearly not something these guys concern themselves with. Even after what was an incredibly satisfying, emotional win on Sunday, the Ravens started getting ready for their next opponent, the Titans, the next day.
Therefore, any mention of a possible letdown this weekend against Tennessee, they insist, is just silly.
“Man, this is a whole new week,” safety Ed Reed said. “A letdown? Those are professionals over there. We’ve got to prepare this week for them. I’m sure they’re doing the same thing for us. They had a tight game in Jacksonville last week, and we had a grueling game against our divisional opponent. We’re not thinking about that, and if we did drop a loss (this Sunday), it wouldn’t be a letdown because it’s still a long season. We’re going to be prepared to play this game.”
The Ravens have gotten plenty of positive press this week stemming from their win over Pittsburgh. Some of that love came from former Ravens coach and current FOX analyst Brian Billick, who boldly proclaimed that “this might be the best Ravens team ever”. More attention came when Joe Flacco and Ray Rice were pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
How does a team stay focused with all that noise going on around it?
“It’s simple,” linebacker Ray Lewis said. “It’s just how much press clippings you want to read, because the same press clip is going to be written about you once we lose a game. So, you’ve just got to be careful with it. And for us, man, it’s about a 24-hour rule - coming back to work the next day. Win, lose or draw, when it’s over, it’s over, and move on. And I think for our team, we’ve already made a decision to move on.”
As fans, you should feel free to celebrate the win over Pittsburgh as long as you’d like. Hey, for as rough as things had been against the Steelers lately, you have every right to talk a little bit of trash to that friend or co-worker who always rubs it in your face when the Ravens come up short to their division rival.
But for the guys who throw on that Ravens jersey every weekend, the time for gloating is over. Now, it’s time to follow that Week 1 win up with another victory in Tennessee.
“We won our first game, so did half the other teams that played,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “It’s a long season, and it was a good win. It was a great win, a good way to get started, but we’ve still got a long way to go.
“(There are) 15 games left, and we’re really not trying to get too much involved with what everybody else’s perception of us is. We just know where we’re trying to go and what we’re trying to build.”