The Ravens welcome the Bengals and rookie QB Joe Burrow to M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday for a Week 5 AFC North showdown. These are five keys for Baltimore to come out with their second divisional win of the season.
1) Make Burrow uncomfortable
Burrow has looked every bit the part of the No. 1 overall pick so far this season, but he has yet to face a defense as complex as the one Don “Wink’ Martindale commands. The Ravens need to shake Burrow’s poise and throw him off his game with deception on defense, something that Martindale does better than possibly anyone in the league.
Baltimore also blitzes more than any team in the NFL, so Burrow will have his hands full in calling protections with a bad offensive line.
2) Contain Geno Atkins
The Bengals will get back their best defensive player this week as DT Geno Atkins is expected to make his season debut. Atkins has given the Ravens fits in the past, and that was with All-Pro RG Marshal Yanda in the mix. Not only is Baltimore without Yanda this year, but they are also expected to be without rookie Tyre Phillips, who has started every game at right guard so far this season. Atkins may not be the dominant force he once was, but the Ravens still have to prevent him from wrecking the game on Sunday.
3) Attack the offensive line
The biggest weakness for Cincinnati so far this season has been the offensive line. Burrow has been sacked 15 times through four games, which is the second-most in the league. OLB Matthew Judon is coming off of a big game against Washington in which he recorded his first two sacks of the season, and he could be in store for another big performance this Sunday against RT Bobby Hart. Baltimore’s blitz packages should present a big challenge as well.
4) Pound the rock
Through the first four weeks of the season, the Bengals have given up the fifth-most rushing yards in the league, giving up an average of 158.5 rushing yards per game. Baltimore hasn’t dominated on the ground so far this season like they did in 2019, but they still boast one of the league’s best rushing attacks with a three-headed monster at running back.
5) Limit A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd
WR A.J. Green has long been a massive thorn in the Ravens’ side, and although he hasn’t looked the same in his return so far this season, Baltimore must approach the game with Green near the forefront of the defensive game plan. Even more dangerous now than Green is Tyler Boyd, who kept the Ravens out of the playoffs in 2017 with a 49-yard touchdown on fourth down. Boyd has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards every year since then. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters will have their hands full with these two receivers.