Gordon McGuinness, PFF
The Ravens have run 301 offensive snaps with a lead of 10 or more points since the start of the 2022 regular season, the ninth most of any NFL team in the span. On those plays, their -0.066 expected points added per play figure ranks 17th and their 38.5% positive EPA snap rate places just 20th.
Baltimore’s 18 non-pre-snap offensive penalties on those plays are the most in the NFL, and crucially, it’s also the highest rate in the league — coming out to one penalty every 16.7 plays.
No defense has been on the field more with a double-digit lead since the start of the 2022 season than the Baltimore Ravens (649 snaps). Their 0.041 EPA allowed per play figure ranks 22nd in that span, and their 46.5% positive EPA snap rate allowed ranks 19th.
The team’s 35.9% pressure rate with a double-digit lead ranks tied for 16th in the league, while its 7.6% sack rate ranks 17th.
Kevin Patra, NFL.com
Jackson has gotten the ball out quicker than at any point in his career and has diced up defenses on intermediate routes. Through 10 weeks, Jackson leads all qualified QBs with a 132.2 passer rating on intermediate throws (10-19 air yards), per Next Gen Stats.
One element of his game has been missing, however: the deep shot.
“I mean it’s right there. I’m pissed off about it, to be honest with you,” Jackson said via the team’s official website. “I watched the game, and it’s like it might be a difference in the game if we connect with that one.
“Can’t dwell on it. Hopefully, this Thursday, we catch them when we want them, we have success with the deep ball, we connect and have chemistry there. I believe it’s there [because], in practice, we do it all the time. Those guys catch the ball down the field 40 yards, 50 yards down the field. We need to transition that over to the games, that’s all.”
Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
The Bengals have had an “explosive play” problem defensively. The Ravens have more explosive plays than any team in football. Cincinnati has allowed a league-leading 71 “explosive plays,” which means runs of 10-plus yards or passes of 20-plus yards. That includes surrendering eight such plays to the Houston Texans on Sunday. The Ravens have 74 “explosive plays.” Forty-three have come via the run and 31 through the air. Jackson has been off lately with his deep ball. Thursday could present some opportunities to get back on track.
Cincinnati has scored a touchdown on its last five game-opening drives, a franchise record. The last team to do that was the 2016 Atlanta Falcons. The first quarter has been the Bengals’ best, as they’ve held a 55-34 scoring advantage. Baltimore has allowed just one first-possession touchdown. The Ravens are outscoring teams 79-16 in the first quarter. For all the talk about Baltimore’s struggles finishing games, how it starts Thursday’s contest will be under the microscope, too.
Bengals 26, Ravens 23
To their credit, the Ravens didn’t appear to dwell on the awful loss to Cleveland. They were loose during the practice week and seemed locked in on the Bengals and the opportunity at hand. If the Ravens are as good as people around the league seem to think, they’ll take care of business in front of what should be a raucous crowd. It’s just hard to ignore that the Bengals absolutely have to win this game, and it’s easier to trust them if the game is tight in the fourth quarter. It probably will be, too.
Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun
Quarterback Joe Burrow has recovered from the calf injury that hampered him in his earlier matchup with the Ravens but generally struggles to go off against coordinator Mike Macdonald’s shifting looks. Burrow has resumed clicking with his top targets in recent weeks. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (69 catches, 821 yards, five touchdowns) is always problem No. 1, though the Ravens held him to five catches for 31 yards in Week 2. Wide receiver Tee Higgins, their chief nemesis that day, is dealing with a hamstring injury that sidelined him against the Texans. Tyler Boyd (44 catches, 417 yards) completes the gifted trio, though he dropped a potential go-ahead touchdown against the Texans. Burrow hasn’t much looked for his tight ends, so the Ravens will be free to focus on the big-play threats. Cincinnati’s pass protection, with former Raven Orlando Brown Jr. at left tackle and 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams at right tackle, is decent. Burrow has taken 22 sacks, tied for 10th most in the league.
Familiarity has bred contempt between these AFC North rivals, both of whom need a win to put the stink of last weekend behind them. Expect a desperate game with chunk plays and wild swings. The Ravens have checked Burrow effectively and are equipped to pound on Cincinnati’s lesser defense. They’ll get back on track but not without tense moments. Ravens 26, Bengals 20
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET (Amazon Prime Video)
This game lost a little luster when both lost last week. The Bengals looked bad on defense, while the Ravens blew a fourth-quarter lead in losing to the Browns. I think Lamar Jackson will get back on track against a Bengals defense that was shredded last week. The Ravens take it.
Pick: Ravens 29, Bengals 24