Here’s the good news for the Cincinnati Bengals: they got their first win of the 2020 season over two months before they won their first game of the 2019 season.
Here’s the bad news: the schedule is only going to get harder.
Cincinnati has five-straight games ahead of them against teams with three wins on the season thus far. The first on the docket is a road matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
About a year ago, the Bengals managed to remain somewhat competitive against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. But a six-point loss after scoring just 10 points in the first 58 minutes proves that not all one-score games are built the same.
Bengals fans know about this all too well. Last Sunday’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars was by eight points, but it had the spirit of a much greater victory. Just like a bunch of their one-score losses from the previous year-and-a-half seemed much worse when they happened.
When the Ravens came to Cincinnati last year just a few weeks after their first meeting, they left no doubt about how Bengals fans would feel about the result. Lamar Jackson and the potent Ravens offense did whatever they wanted against a helpless Bengals defense. Baltimore’s astounding 8.2 yards per play from that day was just one reason why the Bengals completely overhauled their defense this season.
That game was also the first start of Ryan Finley’s career as a rookie, so for the second-straight time, the Bengals will start a rookie quarterback against the Ravens in his first-ever matchup against the team.
Joe Burrow is not Ryan Finley. And for that reason, the Bengals at least have a chance to make this game close. But the Ravens remain the rightful kings of the AFC North. Their offense has very few weaknesses and while their defense may not be what it once was, their job is much easier when Jackson plays up to expectation.
Perhaps the big question this week is whether or not Jackson does play. He’s been on Wednesday and Thursday’s injury report for Baltimore with a knee injury and an illness, so even if he ends up playing, he may not be 100% himself.
The Bengals will gladly take anything they can get as heavy underdogs in this matchup. For all the latest news, updates, and analysis on the Bengals’ Week 5 game against the Ravens, keep it locked in to this stream!