Baltimore started the season by coming into Cincinnati and crushing the Bengals. Now it is time to return the favor.
This Bengals team is drastically different from the one that got beat by the Ravens in Week 1, but are they good enough to cause a bump in the road for the Ravens’ playoff hopes? They most certainly are. The Ravens have proved throughout the season that they aren’t the team that can consistently come out and stomp on inferior teams.
The Bengals showed some real improvements last week with an offensive line that seemed to be held together by duct tape. It seemed like scheming to help out a thin offensive line not only helped protect Andy Dalton, but it also opened up the running game as the Bengals rushed for over 100 yards.
The Bengals also got Giovani Bernard out in the open field on a number of occasions. If they can repeat that with Bernard or even Joe Mixon if he is healthy, then they will have an excellent chance at pulling off the upset.
The Ravens emerging as contenders again is mostly fueled by their offense finally finding some rhythm. Joe Flacco has been able to connect with Mike Wallace frequently, and it will be interesting to see if they can continue that this week. This Bengals’ secondary is different then Week 1 with William Jackson in as the starting corner instead of Darqueze Dennard (Adam Jones was injured for Week 1 as well).
The Big thing the Bengals will have to do is stop the run. In their first meeting Baltimore ran all over the Bengals, and now they have Alex Collins who has seemingly come out of nowhere. The Bengals held the Lions under 100 rushing yards, but they didn’t really attempt to test the Bengals rushing defense too much.
When Cincinnati was getting blown out the two weeks prior to the Lions it was mainly because teams were just running it down the Bengals throat. This will be the real key to the game. If a thin linebacking group can slow down the run, then the Bengals really have a shot.
How to watch the Bengals try to ruin the Ravens’ playoff hopes:
Game: Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) at Baltimore Ravens (9-6)
Date/Time: Sunday, December 31st, 2017 4:25 p.m. EST
Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
Series Leader: Ravens lead the all-time series 22-21
Streak: Ravens have won two of the past three games
Coaches vs Opponent: Marvin Lewis (17-2), John Harbaugh (9-10)
TV Broadcast: CBS broadcast with Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Evan Washburn (sideline reporter). The game will air in the Bengals home market on WKRC-TV (Channel 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Channel 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Channel 27) in Lexington, Ky
Radio Broadcast: Coverage on the Bengals Radio Network, led by a “triple-cast” on Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).
Ravens’ SB Nation Website: Baltimore Beatdown
Weather: Mid 10’s; Clear [NFL Weather]
Uniforms: White jersey with black pants; the Bengals are 26-30 in that combination since 2004.