Ravens at Bengals: Bold Predictions
The Ravens head into the hostile confines of Paul Brown Stadium to take on the AFC North division-leading Bengals. A record-setting crowd is expected to cheer on the hometown 3-point favorites. Here are the RSR Staff Bold Predictions…
The only thing predictable about this season is its unpredictability. So I’ve opted to go with this seasonal theme today because my alleged bold predictions in 2021 have amounted to nothing more than spit-balling in the dark. So I’m going to be the Christmas Contrarian. Are you ready for this?
• Last time these teams met the Bengals offense outpaced the Ravens 520 yards to 393. Let’s flip that script. Ravens gain the edge this time around 393 to 290.
• In the October 24 thumping by the Bengals, Ja’Marr Chase had 8 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown. This time around the rookie receiver will be limited to 4 catches for 39 yards and a score. The real Ravens nemesis will be Tee Higgins who eclipses the century mark and adds a touchdown.
• Joe Mixon had 59 yards on the ground at The Bank in October. This time around he’ll approach 90 yards but fall short when he’s tackled for a loss by Odafe Oweh. Make it 84 yards for the first-time Pro Bowler.
• In Round 1 of the 2021 season between these clubs the Bengals had 5 sacks while the Ravens had 1. In Round 2 the Ravens take down Joe Burrow four times while Tyler Huntley hits the carpet twice. One of the drops of Burrow will be of the strip sack variety courtesy of none other than Jaylon Ferguson.
• Turnovers will be the difference in this one. The Ravens force 2 miscues and turn it over just once, a Huntley INT in the red zone. And while the Bengals are the least penalized team in the league with just 34 yards of yellow laundry per game, the zebras will conjure up images of Ebenezer Scrooge for Cincy fans when they’re flagged for 71 yards for Grinch-like transgressions.
• Tyler Huntley produces 300 yards of offense, adding 2 scoring tosses. Rashod Bateman is FINALLY on the receiving end of one, torching Eli Apple. Latavius Murray cracks 100 yards thanks in large part to the added physicality provided by the one-two punch of Nick Boyle and Patrick Ricard.
• The analytics are at play again in this one and they will tell John Harbaugh to go for two – AGAIN! He’ll listen and this time the Ravens convert – a pass to Ricard in the flat.
• The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Baltimore’s last 6 games. The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Baltimore’s last 6 games on the road. The total has gone UNDER in 18 of the last 21 meetings between these clubs when the Ravens have been the underdog. The over/under in this one is 45. Go with the over!
• The Ravens are (5-11) in their last 16 games when playing in Cincinnati. Make that (6-11).
Ravens 27, Bengals 23
If this one doesn’t qualify as a must-win, it most certainly comes in under “Probably better to win this one if you don’t want to see your season go down in a fiery inferno.”
Between injuries, pandemic punches and wild inconsistencies, the Ravens find themselves having to beat a talented team that boat raced them at home earlier this season. It’s a tough fight. But this team has proven to be filled with tough fighters. You simply can’t assume anything about the 2021 Baltimore Ravens. I’ve picked the Ravens to lose each of their last three games, but this one feels different to me — probably based on how they have continued to battle and compete, regardless of obstacles.
Let’s try some predictions:
• The Ravens will put up more than 400 yards of offense, and have at least one scoring drive every quarter.
• The defense will borrow a little bit from last week’s strategy, and pull out every trick in their book to contain Ja’Marr Chase, limiting him to less than 50 yards on the day.
• Patrick Queen will have a pick against his college teammate.
• Marquise Brown will remind people that he is a threat downfield, with two catches over 40 yards.
Ravens 27, Bengals 19
In 2019, the Browns beat the host Ravens 40-25 in a game that didn’t feel that close. The Ravens played Cleveland later that year on Cleveland and beat them 31-15.
I felt that this game would follow a similar path as that one. The Ravens lost the Cincy game because Marlon Humphrey forgot how to cover and tackle Ja’Marr Chase in the second half, after holding him down in the first half.
The problem with this week’s game is all of the off-the-field stuff the team is dealing with. Between injuries to key guys and the players that could miss the game because of COVID (and will more be announced?), it’s hard to see them winning the game. They have played great football recently when you consider the injury and COVID issues they have had, so it’s not like they can’t win if they have these issues carry over into the game.
Jeff Zrebiec pointed out yesterday that the team has 15 defensive players on the active roster and 2 of them are Calais Campbell and Tavon Young, who are dealing with injuries and may not play. I don’t see how they can beat Cincy with just 15 (or maybe 13?) defensive players available. Hopefully the guys who missed last week can come back and some of the players who have tested positive this week can test back in.
And this doesn’t even include the uncertainty around Lamar Jackson’s ankle, although you have to feel good about Tyler Huntley this week even if it is a road game and it’s supposed to be the Bengals biggest crowd in years this weekend.
Because of the uncertainty of everything, I’m going with Cincy this week. If the Ravens get a lot of guys back, even if Lamar isn’t one of them, I think they win but right now, they don’t have a right tackle, so that figures to be a bit of an issue.
Bengals 30, Ravens 20
Well, if analytics tell the story, the season basically comes down to this game. The Ravens are on an unfortunate skid during which they’ve lost three games, with those losses coming by a combined four points. If that doesn’t speak to playing to the level of your competition, I don’t know what does. I expect this one to be close, too, but despite the result in the last matchup with the Bengals, I see the Ravens pulling off the win. Not only do the Ravens come into this game with plenty of anger over the last few results, but we also saw last week that, even short- handed, they can keep pace with a team like the Packers.
Simply put, the Packers are a markedly better team than the Bengals, and that shows Baltimore’s potential. Don’t play to keep pace, don’t leave points on the board, and for the love of all that is holy, let’s just not make CJ Uzomah look like Tony Gonzalez again, please.
— Cincinnati 💔 (@CincyProblems) October 24, 2021
• The Ravens finally do something they’ve been struggling with all year: win the turnover battle. Tyus Bowser punches a ball away from Mixon early, while Burrow tries to force a ball into coverage and gets picked in the two-minute drill before the half.
• On the heels of Mixon’s first ever Pro-Bowl selection, his party gets spoiled as the Ravens hold him to fewer than 50 yards on the ground.
• Huntley once again gets the nod while Lamar nurses his ankle. Snoop hits Andrews and Hollywood for a TD apiece, with his marker to Hollywood coming deep downfield on a blown coverage.
• Wink dials up a similar coverage scheme to last week to make sure that Ja’Marr Chase doesn’t run all over the secondary. Chase is held to four catches on seven targets.
• For good measure: Eli Apple gets rocked by Pat Ricard on a lead block, and the universe explodes with memes.
Ravens 26, Bengals 20
This is familiar territory playing in late December against a division opponent with the season on the line. Of course the Ravens won’t officially be eliminated but their chances won’t be good. The Ravens impressed in a loss last week with how well they performed with all odds stacked against them. Can they do it again and this time come away with the win?
• Huntley will again impress with his limited starts and ease the concerns of not having Lamar. He will pass for 250 yards and rush for 75 yards. He’ll have 2 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing.
• Mark Andrews keeps his elite level play up again this week with 7 receptions for 100 yards and 1 touchdown.
• Rashod Bateman gets back to how he looked two weeks ago. This time he will finally get his first touchdown.
• Patrick Queen will have a sack forced fumble recovered by Oweh.
• Oweh will tip a pass and Bynes comes up with the interception.
• Ja’Marr Chase will have 80 yards and a touchdown even though he will be a focal point to stop. He’s the new Ravens killer picking up where A.J Green left off.
Bengals 34, Ravens 31
I’ll make it short this week: the decimated defense gets… well… decimated to the tune of four touchdowns and a few chip shot field goals. Joe Burrow has a clean pocket all day and goes off for 350 yards and three touchdowns with a pair to Ja’Marr Chase, while Joe Mixon gets a late rushing touchdown on a 25+ yard scamper.
Offensively, the Ravens will keep pace through halftime, but can’t keep Tyler Huntley (that’s my assumption) clean in the second half, as he takes four sacks and loses a fumble. The stat sheet will look decent for Huntley- 270 yards, two passing touchdowns and a rushing score – but it won’t be nearly enough to overcome the Ravens sieve of a defense thanks to COVID and injuries.
Bengals 34, Ravens 24
With COVID continuing to be an issue with the Ravens, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if this game isn’t played on Sunday. If it is, we have no idea at this point who will be available. With that said, the Ravens have proven over the past few weeks that the “next man up” mentality is alive and well in Baltimore. They’ve taken Pittsburgh and the best team in the NFC to the brink and have just come up short.
The Bengals have struggled of late, but with the Ravens’ secondary reeling, they should put up some numbers this week in Cincinnati.
This is the AFC North and this is the Ravens so if you still have fingernails, you’re probably in the minority. I don’t feel particularly good either way in this one, but the way Baltimore’s games have played out this season, I’m taking the points if you’re giving them to me.
Baltimore covers, Cincinnati wins and takes control of the division.
Bengals 24, Ravens 23
Fresh off a narrow losing effort to the Green Bay Packers at home, the Ravens enter Cincinnati on Sunday for their most “must win” game of the season thus far. Lamar Jackson still hasn’t practiced all week as of the present time, which means all signs point to Tyler Huntley again being under center. It’ll be interesting to see if John Harbaugh is more willing to take points early in the game when they’re available, as opposed to gambling on 4th down and risking putting the team behind the 8 ball yet again.
It’s been a rough road this season for the Ravens right from day 1, and despite the massive amount of heart they’ve shown through it all, the injuries just seem to be too much to overcome at this point. Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t as if they don’t have a prayer in this game. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they came away with a slim victory in this revenge game thanks to Snoop’s late game heroics. However, considering the shape of the defense and the fact that this game is on the road, it’s just too tough to pick them to win with anything besides my heart. It will be another close game early before Cincinnati goes up two scores late in the 3rd, and the Bengals defense ultimately holds on much easier than the Browns or Packers in recent weeks.
Bengals 30, Ravens 22