The Ravens are set to battle against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and they boast a few new players. For this reason, I sat down with Patrick Judis of Cincy Jungle to discuss the upcoming matchup.
1. First question is of course going to be about the first overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. How has Burrow looked? What do you like? Dislike?
Burrow has been even better than expected. He had one week where he looked like a rookie, but the past three weeks he has looked more like a well seasoned veteran than a rookie playing on a shortened offseason.
He has been incredible in the two-minute drill, and that is where most of the Bengals successful drives come from. He is also tough as nails. Aside from the hit he took against the Eagles, he has popped right back up from any hit.
The only thing that has been troubling is the lack of success on deep passes. He has only connected on one pass that has traveled at least 20 yards through the air. However, that is still incredibly nitpicky. He has still be very productive even with that struggle.
Cincinnati really wants to get their running game going each week. If Mixon can get rolling it makes it that much harder for defenses to pass rush Burrow so easily.
The problem comes with the offensive line consistently forcing Mixon to make defenders miss in the backfield, and even after last game, there is still plenty of skepticism if this line has really turned a corner. One thing that is for sure is they will call plays as if it has.
3. Tee Higgins was a player many Ravens fans wanted in the draft. How has he looked thus far?
Higgins has been the starter for two weeks now, and he has looked like a rookie at moments with some concentration drops.
Other than that he has all the making to be the No. 2 receiver behind Tyler Boyd. He has had a pretty solid chemistry so far with Burrow, and you can tell it is only going to get better with time. With A.J. Green’s struggles so far this season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Higgins finish second in a lot of major receiving categories. He is easily finding his role on the outside in this offense.
4. Who are the underrated players on the Bengals? (one offense, one defense)
Defensively, Jessie Bates will be a household name sooner than later. He is already one of PFF’s top safeties so far this season. He has been great at playing center field, but he has also been important in making stops in the running game. He is probably the best Bengals’ defender, but he gets lost behind names like Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins.
On the offensive side of the ball I could probably make the point that Boyd doesn’t get the attention he deserves, but that seems too easy. Drew Sample would have to be the pick considering the other names on this offense. The tight end has been thrust into the starting role with C.J. Uzomah out for the season. He is an incredible blocker, but he has shown an ability to pop in the passing game. He is still a young player in only his second year, so he will make some mistakes, but he has the talent to be a name to watch.
5. What do you think of the 14-point spread? Do you agree? Do you have a prediction?
It is hard to argue considering the last time these teams met the score was 49 to 13. Of course, now the Bengals have Burrow. That still doesn’t change the fact that this game has all the possibility of getting out of hand.
My prediction is that the cover probably comes down to whether the Bengals have time for a last minute touchdown to backdoor cover. This game should be fairly competitive considering the talent at quarterback, but it isn’t hard to see which team is farther along as a whole.