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Ravens remain near the top of power rankings after best start since 2012

The Ravens cruised past the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, 27-3, to move to 4-1, tied for their best five-game start since the 2012 season that ended with the franchise’s second Super Bowl title.

Here’s what NFL experts and analysts are saying about the Ravens and how they stack up against the rest of the league after Week 5:

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NFL.com, No. 3 (No. 3 last week): “The Ravens' defense threw a party on Sunday. Seven sacks, each one by a different player, and 15 quarterback hits in a 27-3 win over the Bengals. ... The defensive dominance provided cover for a pedestrian performance by Lamar Jackson, who will need a hellacious run in the final 11 games to repeat as league MVP. ... The offense exists as a work in progress, a surprise through five weeks.”

ESPN, No. 4 (No. 4 last week): “The Ravens were hoping to see Lamar Jackson take the next step as a passer, but that hasn’t consistently happened through five games. Baltimore ranks 31st in passing, averaging 178.8 yards per game. ... With the running game not being as dominant as last season, Jackson has to become more accurate and efficient in throwing the ball if Baltimore wants to beat the likes of the Steelers, Colts, Titans and Patriots in November.”

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The Washington Post, No. 3 (No. 3 last week): “The Ravens are in a very forgiving portion of their schedule, beating the Bengals on Sunday a week after beating the Washington Football Team. The Eagles are up next before a bye, after which is a big meeting with the Steelers.”

Chicago Tribune, No. 5 (No. 4 last week): “If you’re nitpicking, the offense needs to pick things up. It wasn’t crisp in a 27-3 win over the Bengals. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was 19 of 37 for 180 yards with two short touchdown throws and a pick.”

The Athletic, No. 1 (No. 2 last week): “The Ravens delivered the most dominant single-game defensive performance of the year, according to TruMedia’s Expected Points Added (EPA) model. That same model has Baltimore’s defense ranked No. 1 through five games. ... They’re 4-1 with an NFL-best plus-73 point differential, and it doesn’t feel like they’re close to playing their best yet.”

CBS Sports, No. 5 (No. 6 last week): “They still haven’t clicked on offense yet. The defense was impressive against the Bengals last week, but they need more from the offense.”

Bleacher Report, No. 5 (No. 4 last week): “Something isn’t quite right with Jackson. He’s either dinged at the moment or not happy with the offensive scheme. Maybe both. The Ravens coaching staff certainly didn’t do the quarterback any favors by asking him to throw the ball nearly 40 times against a bad Bengals defense. Granted, Baltimore still won easily, but the shine of last year’s well-oiled offensive juggernaut has worn off just a bit.”

Yahoo Sports, No. 2 (No. 2 last week): “The Ravens' four wins have all come by double digits, with an average margin of 21.8 points. They have played some bad opponents but also beat the 4-1 Browns by 32 points. There are some undefeated teams behind them, but I’ll still stand by the Ravens being the second-best team in football.”

USA Today, No. 8 (No. 4 last week): “Even though QB Lamar Jackson doesn’t look like himself, Baltimore has outscored Ohio teams 65-9 this season. Next two dates are against Pennsylvania teams and unlikely to go quite that well.”

PennLive, No. 5 (No. 6 last week): “Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' offense have not performed up to their record-breaking level from last season, but Baltimore still has an NFL-best plus-73 point differential. The defense has allowed the fewest points in the league, the special teams units have been stellar and the running game remains effective.”

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