The Baltimore Ravens will conclude their regular season with a matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. If the Ravens win, they will officially make the playoffs. The Ravens faced the Bengals in Week 5 and came away with a dominant 27-3 victory, but this is a different team. Brandon Allen has taken over at quarterback, and surprisingly, the Bengals have remained competitive. They upset the Steelers 27-17 two weeks ago, and then, they followed that with a 37-31 victory over the Texans last week. Here are five players to watch:
Board had two sacks against the Giants last week. Before that game, Board had only 0.5 sacks for his career. It is encouraging to see him continue to develop as a defensive player. He has already established himself as a valuable contributor on special teams, but he has been given more opportunities at linebacker this season. He has played a total of 251 defensive snaps this season. In 2018 and 2019, he played a total of 78 defensive snaps. John Harbaugh has clearly been impressed with Board’s performance. Harbaugh said the following about Board after last Sunday’s game: “He has played excellent football. He is becoming a really good inside linebacker.”
He is definitely a player to watch on Sunday.
The Ravens have been dealing with a lot of injuries in the secondary. Luckily, Peters was able to return to practice on Wednesday, which bodes well for his status on Sunday. He has missed the Ravens’ last two games with a calf injury. Meanwhile, cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey missed Wednesday’s practice. Smith has missed two consecutive games with a shoulder/ribs injury, while Humphrey hurt his knee last week against the Giants. There is a possibility that Peters could be the Ravens’ number one cornerback against the Bengals on Sunday. Regardless, he will need to have a strong game against the strong Bengals’ wide receiver group that includes Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and A.J. Green.
The Ravens’ pass rush has really emerged as of late; they have eleven sacks over the past two games. Judon has instrumental to that success. He has recorded a sack in four out of his past five games. He will have a great matchup this Sunday. The Bengals have allowed 48 sacks this season, which is tied for the second-most in the NFL, and the Ravens had seven total sacks against them in their previous meeting. Look for Judon to end the regular season on a high note.
Queen was fantastic against the Bengals earlier this season. He had nine tackles, a sack, two fumble recoveries, and this 53-yard touchdown:
Let’s see if he can have another big game on Sunday.
Punter Sam Koch was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Koch has never missed a game in his career; he has played in 239 straight games. If Koch is out, kicker Justin Tucker would likely take over the punting duties. Tucker does have some punting experience. He recorded 155 punts over his four college seasons at Texas and averaged 40.5 yards.