The Bengals' offense will be undergoing a major makeover without A.J. Green (at least temporarily) and Giovani Bernard (for the rest of the season). So though the Bengals' offense is ranked 10th in yards per game and a poor 24th in points per game, we should probably expect even less output from the Bengals this week, especially against the Ravens' No. 2 overall defense. The Ravens' defense also allows the fifth fewest points per game in the NFL (18.7). So though the Bengals have dominated the Ravens in recent history, it would be more than surprising to see Cincinnati's offense to score with frequency in Week 12.
The good news is, the Ravens' offense is not explosive and they are averaging 19.9 points per game, which is tied with the Bengals for 24th in the league. And, the Ravens average 336.5 yards per game, good for 22nd in the league, much further down the rankings than the Bengals.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is very interception prone with 9 interceptions this season, and only 10 touchdowns. The Bengals actually rank fifth in the league in interceptions with 10, so stealing a few of Flacco's passes will be of great importance this week. Though, that will be a challenge due to the Bengals' secondary being pretty banged up. Bengals safety Shawn Williams was ruled doubtful on Friday and his backup, Derron Smith, was ruled out on Saturday after originally being designated as questionable a day prior. On top of that, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick left last Sunday's game with a knee injury, but is expected to play against the Ravens. We're expecting cornerback Josh Shaw to switch to safety for the week and get the start there. Alternatively, rookie seventh round draft pick Clayton Fejedelem, who has yet to play one defensive snap this year, could earn the start. But, that's unlikely. Expect just about every one of the Bengals' six cornerbacks to be active for the game with Williams likely to be out and Smith definitively out. Third round 2016 Chiefs draft pick KeiVarae Russell has yet to be active since the Bengals claimed him off waivers, and it will be interesting to see if he earns any snaps, if active, this week.
The turnover margin in this game will likely be a big indicator of who comes out on top, though, that's usually the case.
What's your score prediction for the Bengals and Ravens' first clash of the season?