The Ravens look to end their five-game skid against Cincinnati and beat them for the first time since 2013. A win would also help them keep pace with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who moved to 6-5 with a win in Indy on Thanksgiving night. Can Baltimore do it? RSR staff predict the game here…
By the time kickoff rolls around on Sunday, it will be 3 years and 17 days since the Ravens last hung a “W” on the Bengals. The series is knotted at 20 wins apiece and the Ravens are 13-7 at home against Cincinnati. Here’s what you can expect…
– Ravens rush for 140 yards split fairly evenly between West and Dixon.
– The Bengals rush for just 65 yards.
– Cincinnati will be penalized more than the Ravens by 25+ yards.
– There will be more interceptions than touchdown passes in the game and both QB’s post a passer rating of less than 75.0.
– Tyler Eifert has had only 16 catches all season. He’ll get half that amount on Sunday for 95 yards.
THE MEGAN FOX
– Kenneth Dixon scores his first NFL touchdown on a wheel route. It’s the only offensive TD by either team.
– Ravens 17 Bengals 13
The Ravens haven’t beaten the Bengals since 2013; however, the absence of Bengals star wide receiver A.J. Green certainly gives John Harbaugh’s crew their best chance of ending that streak this year.
The defense will tee off on Cincy QB Andy Dalton and force him into not one, not two but three interceptions while recording at least three sacks on the veteran signal caller.
On offense, Joe Flacco has the fewest pass attempts of his season given the Bengals’ low rank against the run (28th) but does record touchdown throws to Breshad Perriman and Steve Smith Sr. Terrence West and rookie Kenneth Dixon each get a rushing touchdown.
Ravens 31, Bengals 20
The Ravens defense goes from Dez Bryant & Zeke Elliott to a Bengals offense without A.J. Green & Gio Bernard. That’s a HUGE help for a Ravens D that will likely be without Jimmy Smith once again. Look for the Ravens secondary to still give up some big chunk plays (especially if Shareece Wright is out there), but rebound in the points department this week, as the Bengals are putting up just under 20 ppg WITH Green & Bernard in the lineup. I like 1 pick from Lardarius Webb on a deep shot this week, and a strip/sack by Suggs.
Joe Flacco will still throw off his back foot and make ill-advised throws, leading to another bad interception, but will also find the end zone twice via Steve Smith Sr & Mike Wallace of the 30+ yd variety. Kenneth Dixon will lead the day in total yards from scrimmage as he breaks the 100 yard mark and finds the end zone for his first TD.
I also like some jawing between PacMan Jones & Steve Smith Sr to carry on all game long, and a dirty head shot on the Bengals because, well, it’s what they do.
*PENALTY PREDICTION: 8 flags for 70 yards, with 3 coming against the Offensive Line.
Once upon a time (2008-10), the Ravens struggled against Cincinnati because they couldn’t score. Marvin Lewis had Joe Flacco & Cam Cameron’s number. Then, Joe figured things out. The Ravens hung 31, 24, then 44 on the Bengals in consecutive matchups in 2011-12. The last time they beat Cincinnati (in 2013), they scored 20. During their recent five-game skid against Lewis’ crew, they’ve scored 17, 16, 24, 24, and 16, respectively.
I’m more inclined to blame ol’ Dean Pees for the more recent losses. The guy who has no problem making Ben Roethlisberger look pedestrian regularly also seems to enjoy making Andy Dalton look like Peyton Manning. I’m really, really sick of losing to the Ginger Cannon. Make it stop, Dean!
I see no reason to expect this offense to suddenly figure things out, so I’m again putting the onus on the other side of the ball. If they can hold the Green-less, Bernard-less Bengals under 20 points (shouldn’t be a problem, if Pees schemes to keep Dalton from exploiting soft coverage with his usual quick releases), the Ravens should win.
Ravens 23 Bengals 13
There’s been a couple of times this season, including last week, that I’ve predicted this offense would break out. Joe Flacco needs to figure it out at some point right? Maybe he’ll switch up his mind-numbing, predictable pre-snap cadence. Maybe he’ll go through his progressions and not lock in on one target throughout the entire play. Maybe he’ll consistently step up in the pocket and improve on his mechanics. At this point I’ll believe it when I see it. I have little faith this offense is capable of hanging 30+ points on anyone.
With all that said the defense will keep the Ravens in this game. Green and Bernard have accounted for 45 percent of the Bengals total yards and even with them this was a team that was reeling.
This will be a game with a lot of three-and-outs, punts and turnovers. The offense will continue to look inept and fail to score 20 points.
Ravens win an ugly one 17-14.
It doesn’t get any closer than the Bengals/Ravens series. 20-20 and pretty much it goes back and forth. Cincy has had the upper hand in the last couple of years, but that had a lot to do with Green, and he is not playing Sunday.
The Ravens have the better record, Green is out with an injury, and the game is in Baltimore. All of those things points to a Ravens victory, but this is the Ravens we are talking about. The Bengals are ranked 10th in the NFL in offense, but the Ravens defense is ranked 2nd. Cincinnati’s defense is ranked 23rd while Baltimore’s offense is ranked 23rd.
This will be another close game between the Bengals and Ravens, but I see Baltimore finding a way to win at home. Flacco hits Steve Smith Sr on a crossing route for a long TD in the 3rd quarter which puts on the Ravens on top to stay. The defense shuts down the red-headed offense. Tucker stays perfect on the season.
Ravens win 27-23.
If there was ever a time for the Ravens to end their skid against the Bengals, Sunday would be it. The added bonus would be to pretty much officially end the Bengals season as well.
And, of course, it won’t be easy, but a win is imperative given the balance of the schedule.
The Ravens O and D come to play and they finally put together a total team effort and show an urgency that has been sorely lacking too often this year.
Ravens win 30-17.
The Ravens’ defense will allow the Bengals to move the ball for 250+ yards in the first half, but will fortunately hold them to only 13 points.
They’ll tighten up in the second half and allow under 100 yards over the final two quarters.
The offense will move the ball well all day, but a Joe Flacco interception will keep the Bengals in the game for much of the 3rd quarter.
The Ravens will score at least 2 TD’s in the 4th and win by two scores.
Ravens – 33
Bengals – 20