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Bengals’ offense could re-exploit Ravens’ surprising defensive issues on Sunday night

Even with a new defensive coordinator and a revamped secondary, the Ravens have had struggles this year. Joe Burrow and Co. could expose Baltimore’s issues this Sunday night.

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Ever since their inception as an NFL franchise in 1996, the Baltimore Ravens have been synonymous with “excellent defense”. Hall of Famers—both current and future—litter the team’s rosters over the past 27 years, and a lot of big names currently headline that side of the ball, too.

Yet, even with a defensive coordinator change, two new safeties netted in the 2022 offseason and renewed health across the team, wholly unfamiliar struggles to the franchise have popped up of late. Save for the two 2021 games against the Bengals, of course.

In helping preview the upcoming clash, we tapped our buddy Justin from the hit YouTube channel, IngravenVids. He has built quite the digital empire, complete with nearly-60,000 followers tuning in to his Ravens, AFC North and NFL news videos.

We asked him about the Ravens defense and what his take is as some problematic areas continue to arise with the offensive hydra that is the Bengals’ offense.

“I mean, man, you sound like a lot of Ravens fans with the conversation of ‘Man, the Ravens invested so much in the secondary, but giving up the most passing yards in the league—what’s that about?’ and it’s weird,” Justin told us this week. “Definitely the Dolphins game—especially with it being just four games...teams have really been taking advantage of the young guys in the Ravens’ secondary because Marlon Humphrey has been having an amazing season...and Marcus Peters, he’s been playing really well, too—all except for one touchdown he gave up to Tyreek Hill,” the IngravenVids head man said.

Last year during their dominating performances against Baltimore, Cincinnati had the luxury of not facing Peters, as he was out for the year with an injury. Humphrey, who has routinely been a top NFL corner for years, had notoriously rough outings against the Bengals in Ja’Marr Chase’s breakout rookie season. On social media, Humphrey occasionally mentioned how he was working hard to avoid more of those Bengal-induced rough patches in 2022.

“But, then the Ravens have some other corners,” Justin continued. “Brandon Stephens is in his second year and I still feel like he’s adjusting to playing corner because in high school and college he played running back. Late in college, he switched from running back to cornerback, then the Ravens drafted him last year and he played safety last year. This year, he’s playing corner, so he’s been doing a lot of moving around in his football career, so I think it’s still an adjustment phase for him.”

Stephens was a third-round pick by Baltimore in 2021 and played at both UCLA and SMU. It was with the Bruins that he played running back and then corner with the Mustangs upon his transfer as a graduate student.

“Jalen Armour-Davis and Demarion Williams are both rookies this year—they got picked on a lot, too,” Justin continued. Jalen Armour-Davis was inactive in the Bills game last week because he had a rough game against the Patriots—he was getting torched early on and then he ended up getting benched in that game. I just think teams are just taking advantage of the Ravens’ young corners.”

The excellent Ravens YouTuber isn’t naive enough to admit there aren’t issues everywhere in the secondary, though. More young players continue to bring a lot of questions.

First-round pick Kyle Hamilton hasn’t played much at all this year. Justin at IngravenVids and all of Ravens Flock thought that there would be a lot of three safety looks from Baltimore this year. It hasn’t been the case.

Interestingly enough, that’s been a similar case with Bengals’ first-round pick, Dax Hill. He’s had a very limited amount of defensive snaps when a prevailing thought was that he’d be out there early as a swing guy or third safety.

Regardless, the Ravens are ranked dead-last in passing yards allowed per game. We’re not saying Burrow is going to go for another franchise-record day on Sunday night, but we’re also not not saying it.

There’s a lot more in the conversation to preview the game, so you won’t want to miss it. Go subscribe to his channel, too!

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