The Cincinnati Bengals have given the Baltimore Ravens fits over the last several years, and their stockpile of offensive weaponry has been one of the main reasons why. While the Ravens always field a strong defensive unit, the Bengals always seem to be able to take advantage of one of their weaknesses, and often at inopportune times.
A bad time to give up big plays is when the opponent is in the red zone, or within 20 yards of the endzone. Even with rookie John Ross out for the opener, the Bengals have myriad weapons including running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver A.J. Green. However, the Bengals true X-factor is tight end Tyler Eifert.
It’s easy to forget about the former first round pick out of Notre Dame as he is often overshadowed by Green, but the Ravens can’t forget about him on Sunday if they hope to win in Paul Brown Stadium. Specifically, they need to keep an eye on Eifert’s power forward frame when Cincinnati is down near the end zone.
Eifert has had injury issues, but when healthy, he is an absolute scoring machine. In his 2015 breakout year, Eifert scored 13 touchdowns while playing in 13 games. Last year, he scored five while only playing in eight, which is a pretty ridiculous stat line considering he missed the first half of the year with a serious injury.
Quarterback Andy Dalton clearly loves throwing to the 6’6” target who is the perfect definition of a safety valve. Eifert has put the ball in the paint a few times against the Ravens, the additions they’ve made this offseason will need to limit him. Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle will have to be on their toes when the Bengals get in scoring range, and with Ross out, the intermediate passing game will only be more prevalent. Here’s to hoping the Ravens are able to limit Eifert on Sunday.