The Ravens are going to be down a few key components and others will essentially be "walking wounded" –playing, but not 100%. Cincy is on a bit of a role, winning two in a row. They are at home and fighting for their playoff life. Sunday’s game is essentially their home "playoff" game. And, the Bengals in Cincy have notoriously been Kryptonite to the Ravens the last few years. Having said all that, Cincy has not looked particularly efficient, in general. There biggest win at home is ten points. There only true blowout of the season was in Seattle.
So at the very least, I feel like the Ravens should be able to at least stay close. In addition, other folks have pointed out some bad bounces that didn’t go our way in the previous meeting, which would have made that a blowout. The X-factor will be Cam. Can he finally solve Cincy’s version of the 3 – 4 Cover-2 with four rushers? I believe it will be a back-and-forth affair with several lead changes. I see either Flacco driving for a winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter, or Dalton trying to do the same, but falling short. Ever the optimist,
Ravens 24 – 20.
This will be Joe's game where he shuts a lot of people up. The time has come for a blowout victory, and what better way to do so than with our playoff positioning on the line? There will certainly be balance on offense, but I expect the ball to be moving down field in a hurry. Cincy has struggled all year with TE's and we have one of the most dynamic duos at that position in the NFL. Look for Dickson/Pitta to have around 12 catches combined for well over 100 yards. As for the WR, Cincy has a solid duo of CB's in Nate Clements and Adam Jones, however their safeties are one of the worst groups in the league. They will be keeping their eyes on Torrey all game, but I still expect him to make one big catch for us. Rice gives us 140 total yards of offense and a TD and Ricky puts in a TD. Joe hits Dickson and Pitta all day underneath for 2 TD's with Torrey and Evans each going deep. Even a surprise TD catch from Tandon Doss in this one. Flacco completes 62% of his passes for 270 yards and 3 TD's.
On Defense, I think this will be a game where our guys just don't let anything get started. T Sizzle and P McPhizzle bring it all game long on Dalton, forcing him to throw 2 interceptions to Jimmy Smith and Ed Reed (both of which put us near the red zone) Benson has had a bad case of the fumbles the last few weeks, and coughs one up because of a Ray Lewis hit. All in all, our offense gets out to an early lead and their offense never gets anything going.
Baltimore wins 38-10 and claims the #2 seed in the AFC.
This weeks game will be tough for both teams. Baltimore has struggled mightily on the road and the bengals are coming off of a skid in which they lost four of six.
Baltimore won the last meeting between these two teams in Baltimore. The Bengals however, were surging late in the game and threatened to stage a late comeback. Cincinnati was without their rookie sensation wide out A.J. Green in the earlier match up and he can be a game breaker. Green is coming off of an injury and may not be 100% for this game.
This week It will be a much closer game than the week 11 contest. The Ravens will look to control the clock with the run game and keep the Bengals offense sidelined. This task will be a bit harder than usual if Pro-bowl guard Marshal Yanda is unable to suit up. Much f this game may be decided by the performance of back up lineman Andre Gurode. If Gurode is in for Yanda it is imperative that he hold his blocks into the second level to open hole for Vonta Leach and Ray Rice.
If the Ravens line can hold and force Cincinnati to rush more than four. Baltimore can win this game. If Cincinnati can successfully rush only four and get to quarterback Joe Flacco, the Bengals will win. This game, just like any other, will be won in the trenches. I the end I think Baltimore wins a huge statement game in Cincinnati. The Ravens prove they can win on the road while setting themselves up to not have to. The Ravens win a hard fought over time game 23-20. Unless my man Seneca Wallace takes down the Steelers then I think you may see a much more vanilla game plan from Baltimore and Cincy may just pull it out.
Ravens win in OT, 23-20.