Lamar Jackson is the real deal.
I wasn't sure if he would turn into a quality NFL quarterback, but he has turned into much more than that.
He's a legitimate MVP candidate.
The Baltimore Ravens have taken his skill set and adapted it to the NFL game, making him a weapon on the ground and through the air. He has improved greatly as a pocket passer and as a result he has the Ravens surging on offense.
Couple that with an improving defense – loaded with top corner play – and the Ravens are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
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The Ravens are up to the top spot in my Power Rankings, fresh off a blowout of the Cincinnati Bengals. In that game, Jackson had another perfect passer rating, his second of the season.
But the numbers don't do him justice. He is so fun to watch and so agonizing to defend for defensive coordinators.
The NFL game is changing in a big way. However, I still think it's about what happens inside the pocket, and Jackson has been good throwing from inside of it. Eventually, though, when the ability to run fades – and it will – he will have to be even better.
So far, Jackson has adapted well. So far, the Ravens have adapted well.
Jackson is an MVP candidate. The Ravens are a Super Bowl contender.
And we get to watch it every week.
|They continue to roll up big numbers on offense and the defense is improving by the week. This team is a legitimate contender.||2||3-1-0|
|They come off their bye licking their wounds from the loss to the Ravens last time out. You can bet they will get past it quickly.||2||1-3-0|
|They didn't play well on offense against the Seahawks, but it's just one game. They still lead the division and the NFC.||2||4-0-0|
|They got the offense back on track against Carolina. Here's an idea: Don't party on road trips.||1||2-2-0|
|That was a terrible loss to the Falcons at home. The bye did this team no good. What happened to the offense?||3||2-2-0|
|That was a big-time road victory for Kirk Cousins against the Cowboys. Dare I say it: Cousins is in the MVP conversation.||5||1-3-0|
|The division is still up for grabs after that victory at San Francisco. It wasn't pretty, but they toughed it out like a lot of good Seattle teams.||1||3-1-0|
|They come off the bye with a lead in the division, but face a tough road game against the Ravens. Can they contain Lamar Jackson?||6||2-2-0|
|At 6-3, they are still the Wild-Card leader. But they've lost two of the last three games and haven't looked good doing so. They need more offense.||--||3-1-0|
|Yes, they are in the playoff race. Kudos to Jon Gruden for the job he's done.||5||1-3-0|
|They come off the bye hoping their momentum carries over. It won't be easy to keep it going with a tough home game against the Patriots.||5||4-0-0|
|At 6-4, they still lead the division. But they have to get things fixed on defense. The run defense was awful against the Titans.||2||3-1-0|
|Just when they take a big step forward, they always seem to take one in the other direction. Is that coaching?||6||3-1-0|
|Don't look now, but the Steelers are in the thick of the playoff race. Mike Tomlin has done a great job with this team.||3||2-2-0|
|So much for the idea that the offense found something before the bye. They were bad against the Steelers and now have a big hole to climb out of in the division.||7||2-2-0|
|Even with a backup quarterback, they can't lose to the Dolphins at home. That's a bad loss with the Jaguars coming to town this week.||4||2-2-0|
|They did a nice job getting back into the game against the Packers, but came up inches short. Now they face an Atlanta team that impressed against the Saints.||4||0-4-0|
|They can't turn the ball over the way they did against the Raiders and expect to be a playoff team. That loss to the Raiders was a momentum killer.||--||2-2-0|
|It's Nick Foles back in as the starter this week against the Colts in Indianapolis.||--||2-2-0|
|Derrick Henry ran through the Chiefs and will key this team's chances down the stretch. Ryan Tannehill has made a big difference.||1||2-2-0|
|So they do have a passing game? Maybe turning off the TVs helped Mitch Trubisky. He was good against the Lions to keep their season alive.||1||0-4-0|
|They are fun to watch on offense, but the defense makes it interesting in every game. Should they keep Jameis Winston next year?||5||3-1-0|
|If Matt Stafford is out for a while they are done. They are probably done anyway.||3||3-1-0|
|They are competing and the offense has done some good things - see Christian Kirk - but they just aren't good enough yet. It will take some time.||1||1-3-0|
|They come off the bye with Brandon Allen set to make his second start. He was solid in the first one, but Drew Lock will play at some point this season.||1||1-3-0|
|They aren't dead yet after beating the Bills. But they still don't look good enough on offense.||1||2-2-0|
|Brian Flores has his team playing hard, which is a testament to him as a coach. Tanking? Who's tanking?||2||3-1-0|
|Who was that team that beat the Saints? Isn't that the Falcons team we expected to see? Where did the defense come from?||2||2-2-0|
|It's too bad they can't play the Giants every week. They looked like a decent team in the rivalry game. Too bad they only play once this year.||2||1-3-0|
|The defense isn't good and the offense had issues against the Jets. They can't run it well enough.||4||1-3-0|
|They have to get Dwayne Haskins going. The rest of this season is all about his growth.||3||2-2-0|
|So I guess Andy Dalton wasn't the problem after all. This team is a mess.||--||1-3-0|