The Bengals run defense has fallen off a cliff over the past month, but not all of the blame can be placed on players not executing the defense. Injuries have also played a big role in the defense struggling during the past month, while surrendering 538 rushing yards over the past three games. with Vontaze Burfict missing 1.5 of those games, having him against the Ravens this week would be a big boost.
The Bengals could also have defensive tackle Brandon Thompson and starting linebacker Emmanuel Lamur back this week, as both are expected to return to practice, per the mothership.
Thompson took over for Geno Atkins last year after Atkins tore his ACL and is Cincinnati's best defensive lineman to come off the bench. He played in 33 snaps in Week 1, but only got six in before suffering a knee injury in Week 2.
Having Thompson back would help a little, but Lamur's return is more important. He's playing almost 80 snaps per game this year, and was leading the team in tackles before missing Week 7 with a shoulder injury (Reggie Nelson now leads the team).