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John Harbaugh says A.J. Green is NFL’s best wide receiver

Ahead of the Bengals’ Week 1 matchup with the Ravens, Baltimore’s head coach had some bold praise for Cincinnati’s top offensive weapon.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green has had some of the best games of his NFL career against the division-rival Baltimore Ravens.

"One of these days, we'll figure out how to cover A.J. Green," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said of Green back during the 2015 season. "It'd be nice if we did it one time before he retires."

Bengals fans are surely hoping the Ravens never figure out how to cover Green as it’s been a joy to watch him dominate the Ravens. Now, with the Bengals set to take on the Ravens in Week 1, Harbaugh is figuring out how to gameplan against the player he believes is the NFL’s best wide receiver.

“I think I was the first coach to go on record to saying he was the best in the league and that was maybe five years ago, six years ago and I stand by that,” Harbaugh said on Wednesday, via “I think he’s a great player and he’s proven it.”

It’s nice to hear Harbaugh say Green is the NFL’s best receiver and it’ll be even better if the Bengals take down their AFC North foe on Sunday. If the Bengals win Sunday’s game, it will be the seventh time in the last eight games between the two teams the Bengals have won. Furthermore, the one game in that span the Bengals have lost came without Green in the lineup.

A.J. Green vs Ravens (all-time)

Date Tm Opp Result Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Ctch% Y/Tgt
Date Tm Opp Result Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Ctch% Y/Tgt
2016-01-03 CIN BAL W 24-16 5 4 34 8.5 1 80.00% 6.8
2015-09-27 CIN BAL W 28-24 13 10 227 22.7 2 76.90% 17.46
2014-09-07 CIN BAL W 23-16 9 6 131 21.83 1 66.70% 14.56
2013-11-10 CIN BAL L 17-20 15 8 151 18.88 1 53.30% 10.07
2013-12-29 CIN BAL W 34-17 10 4 61 15.25 1 40.00% 6.1
2012-09-10 CIN BAL L 13-44 11 5 70 14 0 45.50% 6.36
2012-12-30 CIN BAL W 23-17 2 2 26 13 0 100.00% 13
2012-01-01 CIN BAL L 16-24 9 2 26 13 0 22.20% 2.89
Totals 74 41 726 15.895 6

As any opponent of the Bengals knows, slowing down Green will be key in the game. As such, the Ravens’ top players on defense are focusing in on the Bengals’ best player.

“People think he is just a one-trick pony. He is not just running the deep ball; he is not just going to run ‘go’ [routes],” said Terrell Suggs, who has plenty of experience against Green. “He is a pretty precise route runner. I don’t think he gets enough credit for that, but we are not fooled over here. We have a young defense, but we also have a veteran one now. We have kind of seen everything. We know that he is not just going to run deep balls. They are going to give him the ball often and early.”

Safety Eric Weddle, who’s in his second year with the Ravens after nine years with the Chargers didn’t get to face Green last year, as the Bengals receiver missed both games against the Ravens due to a hamstring injury. But Weddle knows how good Green is, too.

“I’ve played against him a few times in my career, and obviously, [he is] one of the best – if not the best. [He’s] just as talented as they come – route-running ability, playmaking ability,” Weddle said. “A guy like him, you have to know where he’s at at all times. He can ruin a game – he’s done it before, especially for us. We have to be on our toes, technically sound, and play good team defense to make sure he’s not going to ruin our afternoon.”

Green has actually missed four games against the Ravens since entering the NFL, one in his rookie season, one in 2014 and two last year. But, in the eight games he's played against Baltimore, Green has accumulated 41 catches for 726 yards and 6 touchdowns and has averaged 90.75 yards per game.

Hopefully, Green will continue those dominant ways against the Ravens on Sunday and help to start the Bengals out with a Week 1 win.