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Can Ravens Cool Off Surprising Bengals?

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The Baltimore Ravens host the surprising Cincinnati Bengals for a midseason stake atop the AFC North. Will the Ravens cool them off and continue to reign atop the entire conference, or will the young spunky Bengals announce themselves as contenders?

RSR staff predict what we’ll see here…

Tony Lombardi

The Ravens can take a commanding lead in the AFC North with a win over the Bengals. The Ravens enter the game as 6 ½ point favorites having beaten the Bengals in five straight head-to-head meetings. Last season the Ravens dominated Cincinnati in both of meetings by the combined score of 65-6.

  • The Ravens lead the all-time series with Cincinnati, 27-23. Under head coach John Harbaugh, Baltimore is 14-12 vs. Cincy. Will Harbs advance to 15-12?
  • On average the Bengals defense gives up 331 yards per game. The Ravens will bump that average up with a 410 yard offensive effort, split 270/140, pass/run.
  • Devin Duvernay will score twice, once on a return, once on the receiving end of a 40 yard pass from Lamar Jackson. Twenty-five of the yards will come after the catch.
  • Joe Burrow will be dropped four times, twice by Odafe Oweh. One will result in fumble. Burrow also gifts DeShon Elliott with his second career interception.
  • On average the Ravens defense gives up 359 yards per game. The Bengals will put up just 320 yards in this game.
  • The Ravens have been stingy hosts against the Bengals at The Bank yielding 16 points per game to the big cats. That’s the number that Burrow & Co. will land on this week.

The under is 5-0 in Cincinnati’s last 5 games. Make it six in a row.

Ravens 27, Bengals 16

Darin McCann

The Ravens start their divisional slate against the upstart Bengals, and they will face a pretty formidable foe as they try to extend their five-game winning streak. The Bengals’ defense earns high marks from Football Outsiders’ DVOA system, which takes into consideration opponent, down-and-distance, game situation and more. They have the fourth-best run defense by their metrics, and eighth-best pass defense. They also have a solid running back, bright young quarterback and weapons throughout their receiving unit.

Here’s how I think things play out:

  1. Mark Andrews will continue his hot run, working the seams against the Bengals defense. He will put up more than 75 yards and snag a touchdown.
  2. With a full week of practice under his belt, Lamar Jackson will put together a nice game throwing the ball, generating more than 300 yards, to go along with three touchdowns.
  3. The running attack will be held to under 115 yards.
  4. Odafe Oweh will feast, tallying two sacks, and a tackle for loss on an outside run he chases down from behind.
  5. Calais Campbell also gets into the act, with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Ravens 30 Bengals 20

Chad Racine

The Ravens are facing a much better Bengals team than everyone expected before the season started. They’re certainly much better than the last time the two teams faced off. Led by Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, the Cincy offense will challenge the Ravens defense on Sunday. 

— Deshon Elliott will have his 2nd career interception in back to back weeks. Burrow will have no fear throwing deep to Chase and Elliott will make him pay for it. 

Justin Houston will hit his 100 career sack mark in the first half.

Josh Bynes for the 2nd week in a row will be the reason the defense is settled in and will have a pass breakup and lead the team in tackles. 

— Lamar puts in another MVP-worthy performance with 275 passing yards, 3 touchdown passes and 60 rushing yards. 

Rashod Bateman has his first career touchdown with 6 receptions and 75 yards.

— The running game will still have no clarity on who will be the lead back. I expect Murray will be out so Ty’Son Williams will share the load with Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman

— Mark Andrews celebrates tight end day with a touchdown, 8 receptions and 100 yards.

Ravens 34 Bengals 20

Derek Arnold

The Broncos were once 3-0, and now they’re 3-4. They got smacked around last night by a banged-up Cleveland team in a game where the score was closer than it should have been because…well, because Browns.

Why am I talking about Denver? Did I get my weeks screwed up?

No, I just see some similarities between Vic’s ponies a month ago and Zac Taylor’s tiggers now. Paper Tigers! Denver had beated the Giants, Jags, and Jets to give the mirage of competence. Cincy? They’ve beaten the Vikings, Steelers, Jags, & Lions, losing to the Packers in OT in that missed-FG fest & the woeful Bears. More impressive than Denver’s victories, yes, and I do think they’re a better team than that.

However, they aren’t on the Ravens’ level just yet. Unlike in the Marvin LewisJoe Flacco days, those stripes don’t strike fear into the hearts of the purple & black. The last time Cincy beat the Ravens? September of 2018, or the last time they lined up against Flacco in a Ravens uniform. Baltimore has beaten Cincinnati all five times they’ve faced them with Jackson as QB, and it will move to six on Sunday.

The Elliott/Bynes effect on this defense is real, and when those two are out there the Ravens are much closer to the team we saw against LA than the one we saw against Indy. They’ll make life miserable for Burrow all day. He and Chase will give the Ravens fits for years, but…not this week.

Ravens 30 Bengals 17

Aidan Griesser

The Ravens are on a roll after beating the Chargers’ brakes off last week, but now they face another team trying to prove itself. Cincinnati is 4-2, already with a win inside the division, and could really give Baltimore trouble. My thing is, I don’t yet believe in the Bengals.

— Lamar Jackson gets back on track in terms of turnovers and throws 2 TD passes. Bateman gets his first and proves his worth in the Red Zone.

– The yardage isn’t there in the passing game, but that’s because it won’t need to be. The Ravens rush for just under 200 yards as Bell and Murray get TDs once again.

— Joe Burrow has some success against a Ravens defense that has been susceptible to the pass, but Joe Mixon is shut down and that makes Cincy one-dimensional. The predictability pays off late, as an all-out blitz by Wink leads to a strip-sack by Odafe Oweh.

— There will be periods in this game where it feels up in the air, but it ultimately is a fairly safe Baltimore win.

Ravens 31 Bengals 23

Rob Shields

The Bengals are, rightfully, looking at this as a statement game for them. A win in this game puts them into first place in the AFC North and gives them a big road win in the division.  

Cincinnati is 13th in DVOA. Surprisingly, their offense is only 19th but the defense is 5th and their ST is 10th. They are 5th in the league in points allowed and they are allowing less than 100 yards rushing per game. Offensively, they are 21st in total yards and 11th in scoring per game. They are a mediocre running team but have also had some injuries back there. A healthy Joe Mixon is a very good player. QB Joe Burrow has a very high PFF rating and rookie WR Jamar Chase has brought back a lot of big play ability to that offense.  

The Ravens are coming off their best defensive performance of the year, a performance that seemingly came out of nowhere, especially after what we saw against Indy. The Ravens are 6th in DVOA, with their offense ranking 9th, defense 14th (a huge jump after last week) and 1st in ST.  

The Ravens defensive game plan will likely be built around stopping the run and taking away the big plays. On offense, they will likely keep doing what they have been doing. With Watkins likely out again, expect to see more balls thrown to Rashod Bateman, as he becomes a bigger part of the offense going forward.  

The sprained ankle of Latavius Murray puts his status in doubt and that could be an issue in short yardage situations but you have to hope that the other three running backs can pick up the slack.  

Vegas has this line around 6-6.5.  I feel that’s a bit high. I expect this to be a hard-fought, close division game. I think the Ravens win but it won’t be easy.  

Ravens 24 Bengals 20

Kevin McNelis

— Mark Andrews was asked what he was doing to celebrate Tight End Day this Sunday. His response was simple: “Going off”. This wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for Andrews, who’s looked rock-solid the last couple of weeks, but he’ll remind everyone why he’s in the conversation for the league’s elite TEs. He goes for 8 catches, 110 yards, and a TD.

— With questions about Latavius Murray’s health going into the game, the game plan is likely going to shift into a more pass-heavy scheme. Unlike some of the early games this season, Lamar and the passing offense are going to look much more comfortable, and the aerial assault will commence. Andrews, Hollywood, and Bateman each hit pay dirt through the air. 

— Let me preface this by saying that I am not rooting for this to happen. I watched a good bit of Cincy’s game against Green Bay, and Joe Burrow got knocked around. A LOT. So much so that he exited the game at one point. With the amount of pressure up front that we’ve seen from Baltimore in the last few games, I don’t think Burrow makes it all the way through this game without injury. He may only have to leave briefly, but that O-line has struggled to protect him from the get-go, and the Ravens forge their identity on laying the smack down, especially against division opponents.

Ravens 33 Bengals 17

Drew Kordula

Tough one to pick here. The line is right where it should be in my opinion so I don’t expect a ton of movement one way or another. The Ravens’ defense came in against the Chargers with a chip on their shoulder and easily played their best game of this young season. The week prior, the Colts were able to move the ball at will against this unit so the question is, which Ravens’ defense will we get in Week 7?

I think we get a defense that is somewhere in the middle of those two performances, but with this team and the way this offense has played the last six quarters, that will be enough to win most of their games, including this one. This will be a dogfight to the end and all of us will break out the Pepto once again.

I like the Ravens to win, barely cover, and the under to hit.

Ravens 24 Bengals 17

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