The stakes haven’t been this high for the Cincinnati Bengals in quite some time.
Sure, they established their dominance over the Pittsburgh Steelers and went punch for punch with the Green Bay Packers recently, but the crown for midseason AFC superiority is up for grabs this Sunday. A win and they’re playing from in front for the rest of a long season.
One very imposing and agile opponent stands in their way. The Baltimore Ravens are Aaron Rodgers and the Cincinnati Bengals are Chicago Bears fans. One party owns the other. The Ravens have come out victorious the last five times these teams have met. In the last three games, the Ravens have outscored the Bengals 114-19.
A once competitive rivalry has become lopsided ever since Lamar Jackson accelerated Baltimore’s offense out of the Joe Flacco era. Cincinnati knew they weren’t going to flip the script until they assembled a defense that can withstand the pressure Jackson imposes with his legs and arm. All the free agency dollars were spent with this vision in mind. The Ravens have their own blueprint for success, but the Bengals can’t achieve their goals without knocking them off their pedestal.
AFC North implications are heavy in this matchup, but the rest of the conference will also have eyes on this one. The Ravens are the current top seed in the AFC, and a Bengals win would make them the No. 1 seed after seven weeks. It would not only send shockwaves throughout the league, it would unequivocally validate all the changes the Bengals made in the last two years.
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