Week 3 Preview: Bengals vs. Ravens

| September 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

ravensCincinnati Bengals (2-0)

At

Baltimore Ravens (0-2)

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

Line: Ravens -2.5

The term “must-win” is thrown around far too often however Ravens fans are not unjust in using it in reference to this week’s game against the Bengals. The Ravens absolutely have to win this game. They travel to Pittsburgh on Thursday night and would be staring at a potential 0-4 start should they lose Sunday. Will the Ravens get their “must-needed” win or will they fall to 0-3 heading into Thursday Night Football? 

Here is my take: 

Ravens offense vs. Bengals defense:

The Bengals defense has yielded only 32 points through their first two games. Offensively, the Ravens scored 33 last week against Oakland, but don’t expect the same success Sunday. Joe Flacco, who has had some bad performances historically against the Bengals, will need to play his best if the Ravens are going to win. Justin Forsett has struggled so far this season and should see tough sledding against a Bengals defense that has allowed less than 200 yards rushing combined in their first two games.

If the Bengals are able to contain the Ravens ground game, which I think they will be able to do, they should be able to pin their ears back and get pressure on Flacco. The Bengals should be confident their secondary can cover the Ravens receivers one-on-one so that gives them the freedom to blitz Flacco at will.

The Ravens may end up winning this game, but I don’t expect the kind of offensive output they had against the Raiders. 

Advantage: Bengals

Bengals offense vs. Ravens defense:

Don’t look now but Andy Dalton has 120.3 QBR and 5 touchdowns and no interceptions so far this season. I still believe that when the cream rises to the top Andy Dalton will still be Andy Dalton, but we have seen the Ravens defense make Derrick Carr look good last week, so I expect Dalton to play well Sunday. 

The emergence of Tyler Eifert in the Bengals offense takes double coverage off of AJ Green and creates mismatches all over the field. The Ravens barely have success with their cornerbacks covering receivers, so trying to cover a tight end like Eifert should pose a bigger challenge. 

The Bengals have a nice offensive balance with a successful running game of Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill to complement the passing game. Stopping the running game will be a key for the Ravens but their main worry should be finding a way to control the Bengals pass game.

It could be another long one for the Ravens secondary.

Advantage: Bengals

Special Teams:

Different week, but same situation for the Ravens – they have the clear advantage at the kicking position with Justin Tucker. There are just not enough accolades left to describe the guy. 

If the Ravens defense steps up and makes this a low scoring, field goal game they will certainly have a great chance to win. 

Advantage: Ravens 

Prediction:

I keep hearing a lot of Ravens fans say, “We are at home, we will beat the Bengals.” Home field advantage is all well and good, but on-the-field matchups do not favor the Ravens. This secondary has been awful (outside of when they faced an aging Peyton Manning) and Andy Dalton is playing great with another weapon alongside AJ Green in the passing game. 

The Ravens have too much pride to not show up and give a great effort in this game and I expect it to be close one with the Ravens having a chance to win. They will need to find a way to pressure Dalton. If they can’t, expect a similar result to last week’s 37-point embarrassment from the defense.  

I am torn as I don’t think the Ravens have shown anything that convinces me they should win this game, but I think the desperation of starting 0-3 with the Steelers next week will help them squeak out a close win. However, if they lose, I think they will get blown out. 

Ravens 27, Bengals 24 

Follow Marco on Twitter @mromanell and Southbmore.com @southbmore1

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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