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Coming off their most recent victory over the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore is No. 1 in that same poll, which drew votes from four NFL insiders.
In 2008, the Ravens dismissed their low position and went on to the AFC Championship. It just goes to show how much can change from Week 3 to Week 17 – and how little the rankings actually mean.
“That’s the NFL. One week you’re winning and everyone loves you,” said wideout Derrick Mason. “The next week you’re losing and everyone hates you. One week Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to ever live. Now they’re questioning whether he can lead the Patriots to victory.
“Peoples’ opinion changes like the wind. So, you can’t take any stake in it. What you have to do as a player is just keep on playing, regardless of if they have to ranked high or low. You just have to go out there and play football.”
The Ravens have been getting love from many media sources, however.
For a team that typically runs under the national radar in favor of more flashy teams, the Ravens could get caught up in the hype themselves. But, not one man in the locker room is putting any stock into their newfound recognition.
“That’s totally on the outside, totally,” linebacker Ray Lewis admitted. “We understand the only thing that’s been the best is we’re getting ready to deal with Cleveland this week. That’s the only best we can be. Whatever the power rankings are, let them be whatever they’re going to be.
“We sat there and watched the same power rankings last year when they had us way down at 20. So, it doesn’t matter where you are. Bottom line, just come out and play hard-nosed football and just try to keep getting W’s.”
According to tight end Todd Heap, the team was shown last year’s power rankings from ESPN.com in a meeting this week.
But it wasn’t to revel in how far Baltimore has moved up the list. It was to look at the other side of Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns are 0-2 after suffering two double-digit losses, knocking them down to 29th in the ESPN poll. Still, the Ravens are preparing for Cleveland’s best.
“We weren’t looking at us,” Heap said. “We were looking at what they say they’re ranked. We don’t believe they’re that type of team. We believe they’re better than that, and we know that we have to prepare for them.
“We weren’t worried about ourselves. We were worried about what we have in front of us.”