A week after heading to Cincinnati, the Baltimore Ravens are back to take on the Bengals in the Wild-card round.
Baltimore Ravens: 10-7
Cincinnati Bengals: 12-4
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Spread: Ravens +8.5
Moneyline: Ravens +340, Bengals -425
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The Ravens and Bengals have never faced one another in the playoffs.
Injury Report & Game Status
Hope for a Lamar Jackson return plummeted once he missed Wednesday’s practice. Then, on Thursday evening, Jackson gave his own update on the knee injury, which ruled him out for Sunday. Now, it’s once again between Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown. Huntley spoke to media on Friday and said gave a positive update regarding his shoulder.
“It’s up there; it’s a good percentage,” Huntley said. “I think we’re pushing like 90-99 [percent], around there.”
Physicality or Dirty?
Numerous Bengals have come out with complaints regarding the Ravens saying they’re being borderline dirty or cheap.
Ravens players, however, are coming into this game looking for more.
“Se you Sunday night,” linebacker Roquan Smith said in response to accusations. Fellow linebacker Patrick Queen agreed with the message.
“If there’s smoke, there’s smoke,” Queen said. “We’re not running from anybody.”
My unsolicited opinion? This is still the AFC North, right? Arguably the most physical brand of football between two rivals? And, they’re heading to the playoffs, where things notably are ramped up? What are we doing here?
Running the Rock
With Jackson on the sideline, there’s a greater need for the rushing attack to be on point, move the chains and hopefully find the end zone. Running back J.K. Dobbins is hoping to be the guy his team calls on, regardless of who his quarterback is.
“Oh, I’ve always thought like that, even when Lamar is playing,” Dobbins said. “I want it on my back; I want to carry the load. I want my teammates to look at me and be like, ‘Alright, he’s ready; let’s ride him. Let’s do it.’ So, that’s how I always think since I was in pee-wee football, and I’m never going to change.”
Defending the Run
While the Ravens hope to bulldoze the Bengals, they’ll need to defeat the opposition’s rushing attack. They’re built for it, being a top run defense in the NFL while the Bengals have struggled in recent weeks. They’re also down right guard Alex Kappa, who suffered an injury in Week 18. If Baltimore wants a shot of claiming victory, they’ll need to keep the Bengals from nearing the sticks with their run game and force them into a one-dimensional offense that burns plays trying to ‘establish the run.’