It’s time for our weekly segment of Buy or Sell brought to you by Glen Burnie Motorsports. Each week, we pick three topics and let you know if we’re agreeing (buying) or disagreeing (selling) with the statement. Then, you vote and tell us what you think.
The defense will force Andy Dalton into key mistakes
Just as NFL fans and talking heads were ready to declare the Cincinnati Bengals and quarterback Andy Dalton as legitimate Super Bowl contenders, Dalton’s inconsistencies come roaring back in a big way. In Week 8 against the Jets, Dalton threw five touchdowns and one interception, capping a three-week run in which he tossed a total of 11 scores to just two picks. Then in Week 9 in Miami, he threw three interceptions, no touchdowns, and took a sack in overtime in the end zone to lose the game on a safety. Through the first five weeks of the year, he had five touchdowns and five picks.
On the other hand, the Ravens defense – especially the secondary – just can’t get their hands on any passes this year. As a team, they have only four interceptions, tied for 27th in the NFL. Of those four, two are by linebacker Daryl Smith. The only members of the secondary with picks are Jimmy Smith and Corey Graham, who each have a single interception. Nada from Lardarius Webb or either safety.
In three career “competitive” games against the Ravens (not including Week 17 2012), Dalton has one touchdown and five turnovers (four interceptions and a lost fumble).
So will the Ravens defense force Dalton into some mistakes?
SELL: As much as I’d like to see this face time and time again on Sunday:
I just don’t have confidence in this defense to get it done. With A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, Giovani Bernard, Marvin Jones, Jermaine Gresham and the rest, the Bengals’ stable of weapons is impressive. I’m afraid Dalton is in store for his best day yet against Baltimore.
Geno Atkins’ absence will loom large
Geno Atkins is one of the best defensive lineman in football, right up there with J.J. Watt and Ndamukong Suh. Unfortunately for the Bengals’ title hopes, the fourth-year former Georgia Bulldog went out with a torn ACL against Miami, and is lost for the year.
As poorly as the Ravens’ offensive line has been playing – especially on the interior – Joe Flacco has to be wiping his brow when he sees the news that Atkins won’t be coming at him until 2014. Can you imagine Gino Gradkowski, A.Q. Shipley, and the 2013 version of Marshal Yanda trying to hold Atkins off? Not pretty.
So will the Ravens’ offense be able to move the ball and score points thanks to Atkins’ absence?
BUY: If Atkins was playing in this game, I’d honestly be worried about the Ravens getting shut out on their home turf. Without him in there, I’m much more confident than I would be that the offense will be able to move the ball and keep up in what I’m afraid (based on the first BUY/SELL) will be a bit of a high-scoring affair.
The Ravens will secure a much-needed division win
Sitting at 1-2 in the AFC North, the Ravens desperately need a win at M&T Bank Stadium against the division-leading Bengals. Not only have they not won a game since Week 5 in Miami, they haven’t even held a LEAD in a game since then.
Week 6 against Green Bay? Never led.
Week 7 against Pittsburgh? Never led.
Week 9 against Cleveland? Never led.
So can they get back on track and inch back toward .500?
BUY: This is probably just the homer in me, but I’ll use the “Any Given Sunday” cliche to try to justify my pick. The hope here is that the home crowd, who haven’t seen a football game in Charm City in a month, give the Ravens the boost they need to pull off an upset.
Ravens 24 Bengals 23
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