Rebound or rebuild: Ravens face breaking point as franchise - Jamison Hensley
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, the longest tenured Ravens player, said it’s “inappropriate” to ask about the future when there is so much riding on the present.
”For the question, I think it will answer itself in due time,” Suggs said. “It’s one of those things where we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but we’re damn sure not there. So the only thing we’re really focused on around here is the Cincinnati Bengals.”
“I feel nothing but excitement,” Snead said. “I’m looking at the rest of our schedule, and I’m looking at teams we play next, and they’re all winnable games. And we’re definitely in the hunt of things. We just have to take care of one game at a time. I feel like this is going to be a great opportunity against the Bengals. They took care of us last time, and I think coming into our place, after a bye week, after a three-game losing streak, I think we’ll have a lot of momentum coming into this game.”
“We’re going to go play better and go get some wins and see what happens,” Weddle said. “Whatever happens after the season is going to happen. They’re going to go do what they want to do to get us better. If I’m there, I’m there. If not … but I have seven games to live it up and have fun and go play great.”
Ideally, the Ravens can simultaneously play well enough to earn a playoff berth while also developing their young talent down the stretch. Postseason or not, significant roster turnover seems inevitable next offseason.
Best coffin-corner punter
In coffin-corner situations (line of scrimmage at their own 41-yard line or further), Koch has drilled 18 of his 20 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and averages 38.8 net yards per punt, good for third in each category among punters.
Best long field goal kicker
Tucker has the most 50-plus-yard field goals this season without a miss, connecting on all four of his attempts from beyond 50 yards.
The Ravens kicker-punter tandem is the best in the NFL. However, the special teams blocking has not been up to par this season. Expect coordinator Rosburg’s units to improve post-bye.
7 Baltimore Ravens (other than the QBs) who could be especially important against the Bengals - Aaron Kasinitz
CB Tavon Young
Bengals all-pro receiver A.J. Green is likely to miss Sunday’s game with a toe injury, which means Tyler Boyd will stand as Cincinnati’s top playmaking wide receiver. The 6-foot-2 Boyd often works from the slot, where the 5-foot-10 Young will likely be defending him. Expect Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to test his luck with this matchup relatively often.
DT Michael Pierce
Dalton likes to get the ball out of his hands quickly to combat a defense’s pass rush, and that formula worked well in Week 2, when the Ravens failed to record a sack in a 34-23 loss to the Bengals. Pierce’s presence as a potential inside pass rusher could help Baltimore make Dalton uncomfortable more uncomfortable this time around. If Pierce generates a push up front and forces Dalton to step out of the pocket, the Ravens’ edge defenders will have a better chance to bring down the QB.
OLB Terrell Suggs
Suggs could help with the task of pressuring Dalton, will serve an important role in containing Bengals running back Joe Mixon on carries to the edge and offer a veteran presence that holds extra significance with the season on the line.
Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd combined for 178 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. If A.J. Green is held out of this contest, the Ravens defense will be able to key on Cincinnati’s secondary weapons.
Key matchups for Sunday’s Ravens-Bengals game - Mike Preston
Bengals CBs Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson vs Ravens WRs John Brown and Michael Crabtree
Cincinnati has the worst defense in the NFL, allowing 454.6 yards a game and 313.3 versus the pass. Kirkpatrick and Jackson have skill, but at times seem lost when it comes to being in the right coverage. Maybe with coach Marvin Lewis now calling the plays, that problem will be rectified. Crabtree has 41 receptions for 472 yards and two touchdowns and Brown has 34 for 601 yards and four touchdowns. With the Bengals’ problems on the back end, both should get some opportunities downfield.
William Jackson has regressed significantly from his breakout season last year.
Another key matchup on this side of the ball is Marshal Yanda versus Geno Atkins. The disruptive defensive tackle has collected 9.5 sacks, 14 tackles for a loss and 21 quarterback hits in 15 career games against Baltimore.