Trap Game? Trap Game? GTFOH!
Riding a four-game winning streak, the Baltimore Ravens (6-2) travel to face the Cincinnati Bengals (0-8), who are coming off their bye, looking to squelch all talk of a trap game. The Ravens are (6-2) for the fifth time (2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2019) in team history and for the fourth time under head coach John Harbaugh.
What will happen?
Here are the RSR staff Bold Predictions for Week 10.
The Ravens hold a two-game edge over the Pittsburgh Steelers and lead the AFC North. The biggest concern for John Harbaugh & Co. is a letdown, the dreaded trap game, and all of the warning signs are there for such an occurrence.
They beat the Bengals earlier in the season and outgained them by 247 yards (497 vs 250); they’ve just come off a huge win against the then undefeated Patriots on a national stage; the Bengals are coming off a bye, rested and prepared; and they have benched Andy Dalton in favor of rookie Ryan Finley, his first ever NFL start.
Oh, and did I say the Bengals are winless?
But this is a different kind of Ravens team led by a quarterback who isn’t concerned about what is done. He’s concerned about the next rung on the ladder that leads to Miami in February. It’s that kind of focus that has been missing from past Ravens teams. It’s that kind of focus that will propel them on Sunday.
That doesn’t mean that things will look all that pretty to start. I expect a sluggish beginning from the squad dressed in white. Here’s what you can expect along the Ohio River on Sunday.
• At halftime the Ravens will lead by the score of 10-6, 7 points courtesy of the Cincy’s gratuitous rookie QB.
• The Ravens will take their opening drive of the second half 75 yards on 11 plays, chewing up 7+ minutes of clock. After the ensuing three-and-out from the Bengals, the Ravens will complete a similar drive to take a commanding 18 point lead. Then the floodgates will open.
• Marcus Peters gets another pick-six. It will be one of four Cincinnati turnovers. By the fourth quarter, the Bengals will have tapped out, bludgeoned by Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill who combine for over 200 yards rushing. Lamar is limited to 40 yards rushing on just 6 carries.
• Just 10,000 fans will witness the 0:00 mark of the 4th quarter where the final score will read:
Ravens 34 Bengals 6
Michael Hickey, Jr.
I’ve been hearing the whispers about this being a “trap game” and I’m not buying it this time. It’s midway through the season and this team is starting to look like a serious Super Bowl contender after huge back to back wins.
On offense the Ravens will go run heavy because the Bengals rank last in the league in run defense. The trend continues as the Ravens go over 200 yards on the ground and through the air. Mark Ingram has the best game as a Raven and we see the return of the Hollywood Brown show.
On defense I think fans are going to see the biggest improvement on this team. Last week the Ravens had Humphrey, Thomas, Smith, Peters, and Carr on the field. This group needs a nickname ASAP! Ryan Finley makes his first start against the Ravens….that’s all. Body by Taco Bell has a strip fumble and Marlon Humphrey scoops it up for a touchdown because why not?
Bad teams find ways to stay bad. Good teams find ways to be innovative and continue to win.
Ravens 37 Bengals 6
• Contrary to some option, this is not a trap game for the Ravens. The coaches and players fully understand they cannot afford to slip against an inferior opponent. Besides, the Bengals have traditionally played well against Baltimore. John Harbaugh is 11-12 against the Bengals, including a 3-8 mark in Cincinnati. The Ravens are not taking this game lightly.
• The Bengals rank last in the NFL in total defense and against the run. The Ravens have the league’s No. 1 rushing offense and will be able to exploit those weaknesses, Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill will get a bigger opportunity to carry more of the load from Lamar Jackson because the Bengals do not have much of a pass rush and he will not need to scramble out of the pocket. Half-filled Paul Brown Stadium also won’t be a factor with noise.
• Bengals rookie Ryan Finley will make his first start in place of the veteran Andy Dalton, who was not happy with the demotion. Cincinnati took another hit with Pro-Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green expected to be on the sidelines again. Cincinnati has the 32nd-ranked running game so it will be challenged to take the pressure off the young quarterback, especially against Baltimore’ stout defensive line. The Ravens will be in full attack mode.
This is a game the Ravens should dominate, but they don’t want to be too overconfident. Jackson will not play down to his opponent. The Ravens’ defense has gotten better each week.
Ravens 32, Bengals 13
Trap game, schmap game. That’s our Baltimore sports fan PTSD talking.
Ravens in a walk. By midway through the fourth quarter, Lamar Jackson and most of the starters are yukking it up on the sideline like this is August, having been removed from the game to get the backups some playing time.
Ravens 40 Bengals 6
The Ravens are heading into a natural letdown spot on the road versus a division foe. A couple things play in their favor though, the Bengals are 0-8 and will be starting a rookie QB making his first career start.
I’d expect Zac Taylor to focus on getting the ball out of Ryan Finley’s hands early and keeping him in manageable situations. He’ll have plenty of completions but a low yards per attempt, a pick and a sack fumble. On offense the Ravens won’t be facing the great secondary they did last week. This will open up opportunities to throw more often. They’ll take advantage of it, Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews will go over 100 yards receiving for the day before the teams focus shifts back to their run-centric ways to thwart any upset potential.
Ravens 27 Bengals 16
There is absolutely no reason the Ravens should lose this game. Now with A.J Green out it should be as close to a sure thing you can have in football.
– Ryan Finley will throw two interceptions, one to Marcus Peters and one to Marlon Humphrey.
– The Bengals will have less than 250 yards of total offense.
– Justice Hill will have over 75 yards of total offense and score a touchdown
– Hollywood Brown scores a touchdown from 60-plus yards.
– Nick Boyle scores his 2nd touchdown in 2 weeks.
Ravens 34 Bengals 6
– I think this would have been a trap game if it weren’t for the rookie QB, but I expect Wink and the Ravens defensive unit to want to FEAST. And they will. This will be the first and only shutout of the season.
– Jimmy Smith and Marcus Peters corral interceptions, while Matt Judon forces a strip sack deep in Bengals territory. All three lead to scores.
– Lamar Jackson and the offense start somewhat slow, settling for a field goal on the first two drives, but are fired up by the defensive performance and start to click.
– Last game against the Bengals, it was all about Lamar’s legs. This week will be all about his arm, as he tosses 250 yards and 3 scores, two to Hollywood Brown.
– The Ravens absolutely scorch the Bengals and head back to M&T Bank once again riding high.
Ravens 37 Bengals 0