The Baltimore Ravens have lost five straight games to the Cincinnati Bengals dating back to week 17 of the 2013 season. Four out of those five losses have been decided by seven points or less. The Ravens in recent years have always contended well against the Bengals, but the end result would feel like the Ravens are so far away from beating the Bengals.
In three out of the last four losses against the Bengals, the Ravens would typically to start the game and end the game with a common theme. The Ravens offense would start off to an incredibly slow start in the first half, with punt after punt. The Bengals on the other side would start off to a respectable start developing a halftime lead. Then, in the third and fourth quarter, the Ravens offense would finally wake up for a late rally and at times even lead the Bengals late in the game. However, the Bengals would get on a rally and close the deal against the Ravens.
For the first time since winning the Super Bowl during the 2012 season, the Ravens finally have a team that is built to beat the Bengals especially offensively. At wide receiver, the Ravens have pure speed with Breshad Perriman, Mike Wallace and Chris Moore. With physical toughness combined with quickness at wide receiver, the Ravens have Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken and Jeremy Butler.
At tight end, the Ravens arguably have the best depth at tight end in the NFL with Maxx Williams, Crockett Gillmore, Ben Watson and a healthy Dennis Pitta in the fold. Not to mention the Ravens have Nick Boyle at the position as well (Boyle will serve the first-ten games of the 2016 regular season for violating the leagues substance abuse policy).
At runningback, the Ravens have a potential combination of power, speed and quickness. Justin Forsett provides the quickness, while Kenneth Dixon and Buck Allen provide the speed. Trent Richardson and Lorenzo Taliaferro provide the power. Now the Ravens could very well end up carrying only three runningbacks, but the team has the potential to impact the ground game against the game in all three phases.
On defense, the Ravens did what the team could only do and that is add more pass rushers. The Ravens drafted outside linebacker Kamalei Correa, defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, outside linebacker Matt Judon and defensive tackle Willie Henry. All four of these rookies will provide a pass rush with teammates in Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Za'Darius Smith and Timmy Jernigan. The Ravens have the pressure in the front seven to put heat on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton for a full 60 minutes.
The biggest problem the Ravens have had against the Bengals is the fact that Ravens haven't had success against this team in the passing game on both sides of the ball. Ravens wide receivers (outside of Smith Sr.) have had issues consistently getting open against the Bengals 4-3 defense and the Ravens pass rush has had issues putting Dalton on the ground. Both issues should change during the 2016 regular season.