NEW YORK (AP) — Lamar Jackson and the surging Baltimore Ravens passed their latest test.
The Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 Sunday on Justin Tucker’s field goal as time expired for their eighth consecutive victory.
The Ravens, one of five teams with a 10-2 record, are the unanimous choice as the top team in the latest AP Pro32 poll.
The Ravens earned all 12 first-place votes for 384 points in balloting Tuesday by media members who regularly cover the NFL.
“In a potential Super Bowl preview, the Ravens won a slugfest over the 49ers, showing they’re equally adept at grinding it out against elite teams as they are at dominating weaker opponents,” said Newsday’s Bob Glauber.
Despite the loss, the 49ers remained third in the poll.
“Even in defeat, the 49ers showed every indication they are capable of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl,” said Ira Kaufman of Fox 13 in Tampa, Florida.
The Seattle Seahawks climbed two spots to No. 2 after a 37-30 win on Monday night over the Minnesota Vikings, who dropped four spots to No. 10.
The New Orleans Saints remained at No. 4 after topping the Atlanta Falcons 26-18 on Thanksgiving and will host the 49ers on Sunday in one of the top matchups of Week 14.
“Just believe their defense is a tad better than the Saints,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said of the 49ers.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots dropped three places to No. 5 after their 28-22 loss Sunday night at AFC South-leading Houston, which jumped two places to No. 8.
“Anyone who says the Patriots are done doesn’t know anything about anything,” Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk said of the defending Super Bowl champs.
The Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs, both coming off dominant wins, are tied at No. 6.
The Buffalo Bills remained at No. 9 after topping the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving and get to face another first-place team as they host the Ravens on Sunday.
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