RSR staff give our predictions for Sunday’s Week 1 action between Baltimore & Cincinnati.
This is a battle of two teams that start the season with big blemishes. The Ravens offense was challenged before injuries. Now they are forced to dust off and get ready to face a divisional rival with an offensive line that hasn’t played together and a quarterback whose next snap will be his first of 2017.
The Bengals have a big time playmaker in A.J. Green and some newly found speed in the forms of RB Joe Mixon and WR John Ross. Ross is a scratch and Mixon is third on the depth chart. QB Andy Dalton will be supported by an offensive front that isn’t as good as the Ravens’. Let that sink in.
All of the above influence my BOLD PREDICTIONS…
— The game’s point total will be less than 30.
— Total offense for the game will be below 550 yards.
— Interceptions will exceed TD’s by a margin of 2:1
— Jeremy Maclin‘s debut is hardly memorable with 3 catches for less than 30 yards.
— The Bengals playing without Vontaze Burfict and Pacman Jones will prove costly.
— Ravens win by 3 despite winning just once there in the last 9 trips.
— A.J. Green will be held to less than 100 receiving yards against the Ravens revamped secondary.
— Baltimore is going to dominate the Bengals’ inexperienced offensive line and will sack quarterback Andy Dalton at least twice.
— Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will have modest numbers managing the game. He will avoid a costly turnover, which will ultimately be the difference in the game.
— Justin Tucker is going to be busy and with at least four field goals.
— The Ravens manage the upset, 19-13, thanks to Tucker and the stout defense.
Definitely don’t have a good feeling about this one, although that’s generally been a good sign for the Ravens cause I’m pretty terrible at this.
Cincy and Marvin Lewis have been a tough row to hoe for the Ravens – and Flacco, in particular – over the years. Add to that the fact that Flacco has yet to see any meaningful snaps and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
The Ravens’ D will play well, but the rust will show for Flacco and the Ravens won’t be able to score enough to support the D’s big game. The QBs will throw 5 INT between them and Perriman will score from deep, but the Bengals will prevail in a frustrating game, 13-10.
A visibly rusty Flacco and a resulting dismal third-down percentage doom the Ravens and waste a great effort by the defense. Dean Pees’ unit gives up 10 fourth-quarter points, but I can’t blame the coordinator this time; his guys were on the field for 35+ minutes.
Bengals 20 Ravens 13
I actually don’t think the Bengals are a very good team. Their regression last year was somewhat easy to predict. They lost Hue Jackson their offensive coordinator and their best receiver behind Green, Marvin Jones, signed with Detroit. I don’t expect them to be much better this year either but the Ravens have struggled at Paul Brown Stadium in recent years losing five straight. Unfortunately, Sunday will make it six.
Even without Jones and Burfict, the Ravens offense will struggle against Cincy’s D. A frustrating first halfway will be capped off with a pick six on the Ravens’ last drive giving the Bengals a 10-7 lead. The offense will show some signs of life in the second half but the Ravens ultimately lose 20-17 on a last-minute field goal.
-Tyus Bowser notches two sacks in his career debut.
-Justin Tucker hits 2 field goals of 55+ yards.
-The running game struggles in the first half gaining less than 40 total yards. The Ravens abandon the ground game in the second half and Flacco throws the ball 25 times. He finishes the game with 40 completions but less than 250 yards.
Joe Flacco hasn’t played? Brashad Perriman not 100%? Jeremy Maclin hasn’t been thrown a pass in a game from his QB? Doesn’t matter! Flacco comes out on fire and the Ravens march right down the field for a touchdown in their first series and all is right in Baltimore… until the second series.
The D feels like the defense of old as they dominate the Bengals, forcing Cincinnati to 3-and-out on every drive in the 1st quarter.
The Ravens offense struggles through the rest of the game, and the Defense and Kicker (feels like home, Baltimore) help the Ravens win 23-17.
The Ravens offense seems to be getting healthy at the right time, but that will not be enough as they continue their annual struggles in Cincinnati, falling to the Bengals with a final score of 20-13.
— Flacco will kick off the 2017 season with 230 passing yards and one interception.
— Terrance West will score the team’s lone touchdown, but is held to under 60 yards as the Ravens finish with fewer than 100 rushing yards as a team.
— Mike Wallace will lead the Ravens with five receptions.
— On defense, the Ravens will sack Andy Dalton three times and Tony Jefferson will start his Ravens career with an interception.