Week 10 Preview: Bengals vs. Ravens

| November 8, 2013 | 0 Comments

Cincinnati Bengals (6-3)


Baltimore Ravens (3-5)

Sunday at 1pm, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD

ravensLine: Bengals -1.5

If the Ravens are going to have any chance of making the playoffs for the sixth consecutive time they absolutely have to win this game. However, just because they have to win doesn’t necessarily mean they will.

The Ravens have not had a sense of desperation this early in the season in the Harbaugh era and it will be interesting to see how they respond. They came out flat against the Browns, but hopefully being back at home against one of the best teams in the AFC, helps the Ravens increase their level of play.

Given all of their struggles, the Ravens will be just one game out in the loss column from the Bengals if they somehow find a way to win this game. This game is a must-win for the Ravens, but will they get the win they need?

Here is my take on the game:

Bengals offense vs. Ravens defense

Given the offensive struggles of Ravens, the play of the defense as a contributing factor to the losing streak has been overlooked. While the defense has not yielded a lot of points, they have failed to make several key stops on third and fourth downs, and have failed to generate a lot of turnovers. They have also allowed a lot of long drives late in the game to seal victories for the other team.

I understand the defense has been on the field a lot and is probably tired in the fourth quarter, but allowing so many 3rd down conversions is something that needs to change. Two of the last three opponents the Ravens have faced have had tremendous success running the ball and that trend could continue when Giovani Bernard comes into town. Bernard injured his ribs in the Bengals last game but is an explosive back who gives opposing defense fits.

If the Ravens load the box to stop the run they will leave man coverage against AJ Green and Marvin Jones, which is not a good thing. If Andy Dalton is on his game, like he was in their last few games prior to the Miami game, the Ravens have no chance of stopping the Bengals pass offense. Getting pressure on him would be a good idea for the Ravens.

I expect Dalton to have a solid game and have a feeling we may see a monster game from AJ Green.

Advantage:  Bengals

Ravens offense vs. Bengals defense 

In the last three games the Ravens have failed to score 20 points and have looked flat out awful in the first half of each game. If that trend continues, this game could get out of hand really quickly.

There really is not much positive analysis I can give when it comes to breaking down this offense. They can’t run the ball, making them one dimensional, and they can’t protect Flacco, giving him no chance of executing.  Flacco has yet to throw an interception at home and that will need to continue if the Ravens want to have any shot of winning this game. But, unless the Ravens have a whole new set of offensive lineman and a new blocking pattern, I don’t think it looks good for the Ravens against a stout Bengals defense.

One positive for the offense, though, has been the emergence of Marlon Brown. With teams continuing to double team Torrey Smith, Brown has stepped up and given the Ravens a second receiver they desperately need.

Advantage: Bengals

Special Teams

The Ravens special teams were far from special last week against the Browns and were a major reason why they lost the game.

Corny jokes aside, outside of his fumble last week, Tandon Doss actually has been a pretty solid punt returner but it will be interesting to see if his muffed punt last week costs him playing time this week.  With the inability of the offense to get first downs, Sam Koch has been asked to punt a lot and quite frankly he has not been a very good at it this year.

If the Ravens don’t win the field position battle they have no chance of winning the game. Maybe, just maybe, we will see Jacoby Jones have a couple of big returns, which is something that would spark this team.

Neither team has exceptional special teams but a slight advantage to the Ravens for Justin Tucker and Doss.

Advantage:  Ravens


I have yet to officially give up on the season (for those who read my Facebook status last Sunday, you know I said the season MAY be over), as I still believe a 9-7 record gets the second wild card given the other teams in the AFC. That being said, I can’t really see anyway the Ravens win six of their last eight games to get to nine wins. But, a win this Sunday would definitely be help that cause.

Flat out, the Bengals are just the better team on both sides of the ball and their record is no fluke. They come into the game with an injury to their running back and losing their best defensive lineman for the season with an injury, but they still have plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball. Joe Flacco is better than Andy Dalton, but the Bengals offensive line and skill position players have helped Dalton have the better stats. However, Flacco is at home where he has played pretty well this season.

If Dalton plays like he did against the Dolphins, the Ravens will have a chance to win the game. Ultimately though, the Bengals are just too talented and I don’t see any way the defense contains AJ Green. There is also nothing that shows me the Ravens have turned the corner and can score enough points to win the game.

Maybe this can be one of those reverse locks, where saying the Ravens have no shot at winning actually means they will win?! One can only hope. I’m going with the Bengals winning comfortably and taking a big step in locking up the division title.

Bengals 27, Ravens 16

Follow Marco on twitter @mromanell and southbmore.com @southbmore1.

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About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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