The winless Bengals come to town to face the Ravens in Week 6. Who comes out on top? RSR staff offer up our predictions here.
Since the Ravens inception in 1996, they’ve clashed with the Bengals 46 times with each team claiming 23 wins. In Baltimore the Ravens are 15-8 against Cincinnati, 7-4 with John Harbaugh manning the sidelines. The Ravens enter this game with a (3-2) record while the Bengals put on the pads for their 6th Sunday this season, seeking their first win. What can you expect?
• The Ravens will rush for more yards than they’ll gain by air. Look for 240 yards by ground distributed as follows: Gus Edwards 80, Mark Ingram 65, Jackson 55, Justice Hill 30 and Marquise Brown 10. Edwards and Ingram each post a score.
• The Ravens will try another two-point conversion and fail. Boos will cascade from the crowd prior to the attempt.
• Andy Dalton has another successful afternoon in Baltimore. He’ll eclipse the 300 yard mark and throw 3 TD passes. He’ll be picked once by Earl Thomas and finish with a passer rating of 104.1, just a smidgen below Lamar. TD passes go to Tyler Eifert, Giovanni Bernard and Auden Tate. Tate has a career day with 100+ yards while Marlon Humphrey sticks to Tyler Boyd limiting him to 4 catches on 8 targets for 42 yards.
• The Bengals will struggle on the ground and post just 55 rushing yards on 18 carries. The Bengals will run 58 plays to the Ravens 70 as Baltimore controls the ball for 35 minutes.
The Ravens advance to (4-2) when a Bengals late drive stalls just inside Ravens territory. Meanwhile the Browns and Steelers both lose. It’s a good day in Baltimore as the Ravens take a two game lead in the AFC North. On to Seattle…
Ravens 30, Bengals 24
— The Ravens have the NFL’s second-best rushing offense, averaging 192.2 yards per game behind only San Francisco (200). The Bengals have struggled up front and ranked 31st against the run (167.6 yards per game). Expect Mark Ingram to get at least 12 carries and Gus Edwards to also get some opportunities.
— Quarterback Lamar Jackson also has been effective scrambling out of the pocket, but Cincinnati doesn’t have much of a pass rush with just six sacks on the season. Baltimore still has to be wary of Geno Atkins, who typically comes up with big games against them.
— The Bengals will try to stack the line to force Jackson to pass, but the Ravens still should be able to find yards on the ground. Baltimore’s strength is run blocking and John Harbaugh is not going to let OC Greg Roman stray too far from that strategy.
— Jackson should have time to throw and has an opportunity to avoid turnovers, which have plagued him over the last two weeks.
— Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown for 1,412 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions (86.9 passer rating). He’s had some of his best games against the Ravens, including a last-second touchdown that knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs in the 2017 regular-season finale. He will test Baltimore’s struggling secondary, which is allowing 280 yards per game (29th in the NFL).
— The Ravens caught a break with Bengals receiver A.J. Green still sidelined with an ankle injury. Cincinnati has struggled to run the ball and that won’t get better against the Ravens’ stout front seven.
Ravens 30, Bengals 17
Andy Dalton has been the Ravens’ kryptonite when they’ve had GOOD defenses. What’s he gonna do against this rag-tag group?
I’m not a betting man. Even if I was, I wouldn’t bet on or against my team. But Cincy plus 11.5? That should be juuuuuuicy, to you gamblers.
Ravens 27 Bengals 23
— Even though the Ravens won in Pittsburgh, I think they need a dominant win here to get ‘back on track.’
— Lamar Jackson performed well against Cincinnati in his first career start last year. This season, he’ll play even better, breaking off his first 30+ yard TD run of the year, while tossing 2 scores (one to Willie Snead and one to Hayden Hurst).
— Just because Hollywood won’t have a TD catch doesn’t mean he won’t have a big game. A screen pass he takes 40+ yards will set up a Mark Ingram rush.
— Defensively, the Ravens make it hard on Andy Dalton by taking away the running game. In a second-half set of desperate throws, Dalton will throw 2 interceptions, one of which is returned for a score by DeShon Elliott.
— With Cleveland going up against an extremely talented Seattle team this week, the Ravens have the chance to stretch their lead in what looks to be a bad AFC North division. They’ll do just that, as the Browns will fall, too.
Ravens – 38 Bengals – 13
This is a matchup that clearly favors the Ravens, right? Cincinnati is a team still without a real identity, a middling quarterback riding it out until the Bengals find his replacement, and a coach trying to find his bearings in the NFL.
Not so fast my friends, in the words of Lee Corso. While the Ravens should handle business at home, the Bengals still have some areas that cause concern. Joe Mixon is still a talented back, Auden Tate is a big-bodied target starting to get more looks his way, and of course there’s Tyler Boyd.
Their front seven leaves a bit to be desired but the secondary is still there for the most part with the likes of William Jackson and Jessie Bates (a guy i really liked coming out). Long story short, the Ravens still need to show up in this matchup or they won’t be feeling comfortable.
Now to the positives as I’m tired of being a negative nelly all the time (as I’m sure you’re tired of it too)! The Ravens boast a very strong running game, and run defense is the Bengals biggest weakness, aside from their offensive line. Expect a healthy dose of Gus Edwards and Mark Ingram to hammer the front seven. I could see the Bengals going ahead and lining up in man coverage and stacking the box, knowing full well that is their weakness and daring Lamar Jackson and the Ravens receivers to beat them. Jackson has struggled a bit the last few weeks, and it won’t get much easier Sunday.
Defensively, the Ravens have very few excuses not to get after Dalton. This is about as mediocre an offensive line as you’re going to find. If the front seven can’t make hay Sunday, they won’t the rest of the season.
All in all, i feel comfortable picking the Ravens to win Sunday. It’s going to be closer than some think, and i wouldn’t touch that betting line with a 10ft pole.
Ravens 27 Bengals 20
Lets not sugarcoat this game. The Bengals are a bad football team and the Ravens need to use this game to work out some of the kinks on offense and defense.
On offense the game plan should be clear. The Bengals can’t stop the run and the Ravens are pretty good running the football. Don’t get fancy with the game plan, just execute. Expect a monster game from Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards. There’s no secret Lamar Jackson has been up and down the last few games, but lets not forget he still doesn’t have a full season as a starter. Prior to the season national analysts said he would never be a successful starting quarterback, Week 2 they were discussing him as a MVP candidate, and now he’s somewhere in between. Jackson is simply still a work in progress and this week I’d like to see him settle down a little bit, cut down on the unnecessary sacks, and take what the defense gives him.
The defense is going to have a good challenge. I realize A.J. Green is out and the Bengals offensive line is in shambles. Andy Dalton is more than capable of picking apart the secondary and Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard are good receivers out of the backfield. I want to see guys play fundamentally sound football and stick to their assignments. I think Earl Thomas is going to have his best game as a Raven and quiet his doubters. There’s still questions on who is going to wear the green dot since Tony Jefferson is out. My guess is Thomas or Josh Bynes. Bynes would be ideal but this is literally his 2nd week with the team so I’m not sure it’s even possible. I think Chuck Clark gets first crack at the starting SS spot and will play well. DeShon Elliott will get opportunities as well but he is standing out on special teams and the Ravens want to keep him there.
The schedule is about to become a gauntlet and if the Ravens have playoff aspirations for 2019 they need to beat the Bengals at home.
Ravens 33 Bengals 10
This is an opportunity for the Ravens to find their groove again in the passing game. It’s also one game closer to getting the defense fixed. The Bengals always give the Ravens fits no matter how bad their record says they are. If the Ravens were to lose this game it would feel like the season is over. The Ravens need to take care of business at home because the schedule is about to get brutal.
— Gus Edwards gets more involved with 80 yards rushing and a touchdown.
— Lamar Jackson throws for 275 yards and 3 passing touchdowns. He rushes for another 60 yards.
— Hayden Hurst is the recipient of one of those touchdowns and the leading tight end in yards with 55 yards.
— Willie Snead will be the leading receiver with 70 yards and one touchdown.
— Patrick Onwuasor plays, and forces a fumble by punching the ball out and creating a turnover for the Ravens.
— Marlon Humphrey will continue to show why he’s the best defensive player on the team.
Ravens 31 Bengals 17
Unlike teams like Miami or Washington, the Bengals are more talented then their record suggests. They have just had an unfortunate string of injuries that have gashed their secondary, receiver corps, and more importantly, the offensive line.
If there was a time for the Ravens pass rushers to get its mojo back (currently PFF has this unit ranked 2nd worst in football), it would be now.
— Lamar Jackson has a better showing then he did last year against the Bengals. He will showcase the growth from his first start and take advantage of a rather poor defense. I expect his stat line to hover around 19/25 for 290 yards and two scores. He will have the occasional inaccurate pass, but this is a game that will ease the critics for another week.
— Gus Edwards will be the player of the game, running for 150+ yards and two scores. Mark Ingram will reach around 150 total yards, and be the recipient of a touchdown pass on a screen pass.
— I wanted to see if Miles Boykin can take advantage of an otherwise unimpressive secondary. He is the biggest receiver the Ravens have, and that is an advantage they need to see if they can exploit.
— The Ravens defense will struggle in the starting quarter but ease back into themselves as time goes on. I expect Matt Judon to have 3 sacks going against a third String left tackle (I am not even sure who is starting anymore), and Michael Pierce will add another in from the interior.
— Earl Thomas and Marlon Humphrey will each grab a pick, and Maurice Canady will allow the lowest yards per catch from the team.
— Baltimore’s largest weakness will continue to be showcased, as I expect Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert to have strong games against one of the league’s worst linebacker cores.
Ultimately, it is Baltimore’s game to lose, and I think they have been hard enough on themselves to realize that this is a must win.
Baltimore 31 Cincinnati 14