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Bold Predictions: Ravens vs. Bengals

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 proved to be more of a primer than a challenge when Baltimore decimated the Buffalo Bills. But how will the Ravens fair in their first road test and divisional game? The Baltimore Beatdown staff forecasts how tonight’s edition of Thursday Night Football will shake out.

Sage’s predictions:

  • Only one member of the new receiver trio will score a touchdown.

In a dominant performance over the Bills, John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead IV all scored in their debuts. However, on a short week against a divisional opponent on the road, only one of the new additions will have an encore performance in the end zone.

  • The Baltimore defense gets far less pressure on the quarterback.

Compared to an inexperienced Nathan Peterman, Andy Dalton will be much better at evading sacks. Expect the Ravens to fall significantly short of their six sack total against the Bills in Week 1.

  • Janarion Grant shakes off his first game jitters.

As an undrafted rookie, Grant displayed both flashes of brilliance with a 51-yard punt return and moments of ineptitude when he fumbled. With the nerves and anticipation of his first regular season appearance behind him, Grant will show more consistency as a returner in Cincinnati if his hand injury does not keep him off the field.

Vasilis’ predictions:

  • James Hurst will allow three sacks.

The Bengals stable of potent pass rushers will attack an untested Hurst. Rookie Orlando Brown Jr. will become the starting right tackle sooner rather than later.

  • Buck Allen will eclipse 100 yards from scrimmage.

After Alex Collins’ fumble and Kenneth Dixon’s injury, Allen is in line for an increased workload. Buck will make the most of the opportunity and have a big impact in the short passing game.

  • Tyler Eifert will record 10 catches.

As the Ravens stack the box to shut down Cincinnati’s rushing attack, Eifert will serve as Andy Dalton’s outlet valve. Baltimore still does not have the personnel to effectively cover dynamic tight ends.

Dustin’s predictions:

  • Lamar Jackson scores a touchdown.

Against the Bills, we saw several different packages featuring Lamar Jackson. While none were particularly successful, opposing teams now know they must game plan for him now. Jackson will once again have a role in this game, and this time he will score a rushing touchdown in the red zone.

  • A.J. Green will be shutdown.

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green has given the Ravens fits for years. However, Green was virtually a non-factor in both games against Baltimore last season. This was in thanks to the excellent play from cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey. Although Smith is currently suspended, Humphrey will once again step up to the task and limit Green to under 30 receiving yards.

  • Joe Flacco will not throw an interception.

Flacco started the season with a dominant performance over Buffalo last Sunday, throwing for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Flacco looks confident and poised in the pocket right now, which will be on full display against Cincinnati. Flacco’s decision making was impeccable in Week 1 and that will continue this week. While he will not throw for three touchdowns again, Flacco will protect the ball and manage the game well.