The Cincinnati Bengals have been a low key problem for the Baltimore Ravens over the years. Even though the Ravens still lead the all-time series against the Bengals 20-18, the Bengals have been a thorn on the Ravens' side even during the years the Bengals have struggled. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh hasn't had a consistent answer for them and neither has Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
Flacco, in his 14 career games against the Bengals, has thrown for 2,644 yards with 13 touchdowns and 18 interceptions to go along with completing 59 percent of his passes and a passer rating of 69.6.
However, since Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis entered Cincinnati in 2003, the Ravens are 10-14 against the Bengals. So the issues the Ravens have had in recent years isn't really related to just Harbaugh and Flacco. It feels like Lewis is inside the Ravens playbook even though the series is tied at 7-7 when Harbaugh and Flacco both arrived in Baltimore in 2008.
One thing is for sure, the cover 2 shell defense the Bengals have played against the Ravens has worked well. Ravens wide receivers have never really gotten a consistent edge against the Bengals secondary which in turn has forced Flacco to throw in tight windows and have caused some of those 18 interceptions.
For the Ravens to cure their woes offensively against the Bengals, it would be prudent to see more action out of the tight end position most notably Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams. The softest spot in a 4-3 cover 2 defense is in the middle of the field. Get Gillmore and Williams working early on the field at the same time. The last thing the Ravens want to do is let the Bengals defense set the tone early with their front seven.
History has also shown that if the Ravens want to beat the Bengals, they have to establish the run. In Flacco's 14 career games against the Bengals since 2008, the Ravens have rushed for 121.9 yards per game on 4.3 yards per carry.
The Ravens are also 6-1 vs the Bengals since 2008 when they run the ball at least 27 times. That might just be the formula for success that the Ravens may be looking for.
That one loss came in 2012 in week 17 when the Ravens rested their starters after the first series in preparation for their Super Bowl run. Former Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor played under center for the majority of the game. So technically, an argument could be made that the Ravens are actually 6-0 vs the Bengals under that criteria.
If the Ravens are able stay patient offensively in the running game, there is a very good chance the Ravens score their first win in the 2015 season.