This could be a pivotal game in the Ravens’ season. The Bengals are coming to Baltimore in the midst of their worst campaign in years, but they still own a humbling five-game winning streak against the purple & black. If the Ravens can end that streak, they’ll pull back even with Pittsburgh at 6-5, and with the way tiebreakers are setting up, they’ll still have the inside track to the AFC North title.
If, on the other hand, they’re again unable to solve Marvin Lewis‘ squad, then things get a whole lot easier for Pittsburgh.
Let’s not let that happen, huh?
We get you ready for Ravens-Bengals with all the stats, quotes, and more that you need in our weekly Crab Bag c/o Casa Mia’s White Marsh.
KNOW THY ENEMY
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“Legendary player. I was just telling him after the game that he can play a couple more years if he wants to and just keep it going. Sixteen years is a long time, but if anybody can keep playing, it’s him. It’s just an honor to be on the team with him. Every day to see the way he works and see how he carries himself, I just love it. I wish I would have had more time with him. When you have greatness around you, you just take whatever you can get and absorb whatever you can. Every day, I just try to learn something from him. He’s a special player, a special person. One thousand catches don’t come easy. You have to respect anybody who gets to that milestone.”
QB Joe Flacco on if he marvels at all that WR Steve Smith Sr. has been able to accomplish, especially after his latest injury:
“Everything that guy does is incredible, athletically. Everybody should look at him, and I don’t know if they should be jealous or what, but they should definitely take notice of how special of a person that they’re watching. I think he’s going to be a guy that we remember for a while. I’m definitely very proud to say that I play with him. With the things that he’s gone through and the way that he’s come back this year, I’ll be telling stories about him for a long time, and this just adds to it.”
“From my perspective on the outside, competing against them and watching them play, there is no question that they have done a great job with their culture. Again, it starts with the top with the kind of people they have and the kind of people they want to bring in. They have just been a winning franchise for a long time. They are always very challenging to play, and they play the game the right way. John Harbaugh has done a fantastic job there, and they just do it the right way.”
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg on instilling confidence in the Ravens’ offense:
“Confidence is quite a little bit of what we do. I would expect our players to always have great confidence. That thing never fails. I think as a dad, one of my responsibilities is to instill confidence in my kids. Also, that is one of our responsibilities as teachers. That is what we do; we are teachers first. There are a lot of other things that go into this thing. But teachers instill confidence in those young kids, and it pays off. Yes, confidence is a big part of this – of anything we do – but certainly in this game of football.”
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal on keys to the Ravens’ defense:
“The key to Baltimore’s underrated team defense is up the middle. Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan are very difficult to run on. … Middle linebacker Zach Orr consistently cleans up plays, and Eric Weddle has added stability to the secondary.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Tavon Young
You are one of the few rookies to earn a starting spot in recent weeks. What have you done to get to this point?
“It started with injuries, guys getting hurt. Jerraud [Powers] got hurt in preseason, so I had to step up and start at nickel in the preseason games. Once the regular season came, he and I were splitting reps. Then Sheldon [Price], Shareece [Wright] and Maurice [Canady] got hurt, and I had to play outside. That’s how that came about, just being the next man up. Coming in, I knew I eventually wanted to play outside anyway, so when I got my chance, I locked in more knowing I had a bigger role to play for the team.”
You are smaller in stature but seem fearless on the field. Where do you think that comes from?
“I think that’s just how I was made. I actually have a ‘fearless’ tattoo across my stomach. It’s something I feel like I was kind of born with. As I got older, just being smaller, I realized I probably didn’t have the size as everyone else, but I attacked everyone the same way. I was just taught to be a dog.”
What is the best piece of advice you have received from a vet in your position group?
“Whenever I have questions, I always talk to J.P. [Jerraud Powers]. He and Lardarius Webb are the guys I talk to the most. [Eric] Weddle, on the field, talks to me and tells me what to expect. ‘Webby’ gives me a lot of tips, because he used to be a cornerback. The best advice J.P. has given me is to just keep coming back and stay hungry. He also told me not to be afraid to make mistakes and just play ball.”
You named Breshad Perriman as one of the best receivers you faced in college. What has it been like going up against him in practice?
“It’s been fun. The game he played against me in college, he got the best of me, so it’s been payback ever since. (laughter) But we just go out there, compete and have fun.”
What is your impression of the Ravens’ defensive heritage?
“We expect to be the No. 1 defense in the NFL. We want to stay there the whole season. We want to stay there for years to come. The mentality is just to dominate your opponent every game. That’s my style, too.”
Who is the most entertaining rookie?
“Matthew Judon. No question about that. He’s just goofy, funny and crazy. He keeps us laughing.”
What has been the most surprising part of your first year in the NFL off the field?
“The amount of freedom you get. In college, it was meeting after meeting after meetings and then class all day. That’s the biggest thing. Here, it’s your real job, so we’re usually done around 4 p.m. Not as many things to juggle.”
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! ~ Key Connections
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis served as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator from 1996-2001. During the 2000 season, Lewis’ defense set an NFL record for fewest points allowed in a season (165), en route to winning Super Bowl XXXV.
In 1998, Bengals ST coordinator Darrin Simmons was Baltimore’s assistant special teams & assistant strength and conditioning coach. … Bengals assistant strength & conditioning coach Jeff Friday was the Ravens’ head strength & conditioning coach from 1999-2007. Also, Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton (1999-2001) served as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for Baltimore. … Bengals defensive line coach Jacob Burney served as the Ravens’ defensive line coach from 1996-98.
Bengals CB Chykie Brown was selected by the Ravens in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft and spent the next three seasons in Baltimore, including the 2012 Super Bowl XLVII campaign. … Bengals HB Cedric Peerman (currently on Injured Reserve) was taken by Baltimore in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Ravens CB Chris Lewis-Harris originally signed with Cincinnati as a rookie free agent in 2012, playing in 26 games over four-plus seasons before being claimed off waivers by Baltimore on Nov. 4 this year.
NUMBERFIRE’S FANTASY PROJECTIONS
NumberFire also gives the Ravens a 56% chance to win Sunday.
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT
Nope. They’ve beaten us five times in a row. Until we get a little even, we don’t get to laugh at them.