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Ray Lewis: 'Lamar Jackson Should Be In Conversation For MVP'

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Baltimore Ravens come off their bye week sporting a 5-2 record and holding a 2.5 game lead in the AFC North over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Success has many fathers, but credit for the team's hot start has to begin with quarterback Lamar Jackson. The man that NFL Hall of Famer and former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis calls a "special, special piece" has continued to show his game-breaking ability on the ground, ranking 10th in the league in rushing yards (576) and averaging nearly seven yards per carry (6.9). But Jackson's brilliance with his legs was a known quantity coming into the season. What was more in question was his ability to stand and deliver from within the pocket consistently when teams took away the run threat.

He has done just that, completing 63 percent of his passes for over 1,600 yards and 11 touchdowns. With a defense decimated by injuries, Jackson has been the driving force behind many of the Ravens' wins. His play this season has Lewis ready to place him in conversation for one of the league's biggest awards.

"He has an 'it' factor," said Lewis. "And that's why I say he should be in the conversation for MVP."

A Ravens player has never won the NFL MVP award, not even Lewis. So if Jackson were to pull off the feat, it would be a franchise first. In order to do so, he will have to sustain his high level of play, something that may be difficult this week with the league's best New England Patriots defense coming to town. The unbeaten Patriots, of course, are favorites to emerge from the AFC as the conference's Super Bowl representative. But because of Jackson's "it factor," Lewis isn't willing to rule out the Ravens from that conversation either.

One thing is for sure. The Ravens legend is keeping a close eye on his former team as they head into Sunday's battle between two of the AFC's best teams.

You can get more NFL insights from Ray along with Steve Smith Sr., Brandon Marshall, Phil Simms and host James Brown tonight when Inside The NFL airs on Showtime at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

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