Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
“The whole time in the offseason, you think about how you got sent home early and those guys got to continue their season and get to the AFC Championship Game,” said Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen. “It definitely motivates you. But as of right now, it’s a new season, a new opportunity to do things that you haven’t done before.”
“Every game I play is personal, every play I play is personal,” said Ravens middle linebacker Roquan Smith. “They’re going to get what they’re going to get. That’s just how I look at it. That’s any opponent, each and every week. I’m going to play the same, through the whistle — fast, physical all day long. If they don’t like it, who cares?”
The results set the stage for the latest installment of Ravens versus Bengals. One team needs a win to avoid falling to 0-2, the other just needs a win to serve notice to an opponent that has recently had its number.
“It’s a new week. This is the NFL,” Smith said. “I’m sure they are going to be pissed off coming into the game based on their outing from last week. I don’t think they scored a touchdown. So, obviously, they’re going to try and come out and get some redemption. And we’re going to be pissed off as well. That’s how we play, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Clifton Brown, BaltimoreRavens.com
The franchise quarterback is eager for Week 2, when the Ravens head to Cincinnati with Jackson healthy and ready to rejoin the rivalry. Jackson has only played two games in Cincinnati in his six-year career, and none since 2020.
Jackson still remembers how helpless he felt, watching Baltimore’s season end without him in January.
“Very tough,” Jackson said. “No. 1, I was injured. No. 2, I wasn’t able to travel with my guys and support them. Being out of the game, that’s not something I want to do ever again.
“Going back to Cincinnati, great atmosphere, great crowd. I’ve got some of the Louisville guys in the area, great support from the Ravens fan base in Louisville. It’s great to be there.”
“I love being the underdog,” Jackson said. “I really don’t care to be hyped up or people displaying that we’re on top of the league. I’d rather be the underdog because we always have something to prove. We always have a chip on our shoulder to go out there and win a game.”
Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore
In Cincinnati’s season-opening loss Sunday to the Cleveland Browns, Burrow, dealing with poor weather, shaky pass protection and perhaps a lingering calf injury, finished with 82 yards on 45.2% accuracy, both career lows. He also saw a high rate of disguised coverages, which the Ravens had used to give Burrow fits.
“It definitely does look like they took some pages [from the playbook],” inside linebacker Patrick Queen said Wednesday.
Burrow has fared no better against Macdonald. One year after lighting up former Ravens coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s defenses, he could not solve his successor’s riddles. The Bengals won two of their three meetings last year, but Burrow’s performances against Macdonald’s defense were suboptimal: a 35.3 QBR in Week 5, a 26.2 QBR in Week 18 against a secondary missing some key contributors, and a 31.7 QBR in the wild-card round.
Against the Ravens last season, including the playoffs, Burrow and the Bengals averaged just 4.4 yards per play and minus-0.08 expected points added per drop-back, according to TruMedia — about as inefficient as the 2022 Carolina Panthers. Against every opponent on Cincinnati’s schedule, Burrow averaged 5.6 yards per play and an elite 0.14 EPA per drop-back.
Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun
Ravens passing game vs. Bengals pass defense
Hendrickson and Hubbard combined for 13 1/2 sacks and 46 quarterback hits last season, and Hubbard’s 98-yard fumble return was the deciding play in the Bengals’ 24-17 playoff win over the Ravens in January. Jackson completed just 19 of 32 passes for 174 yards and an interception in his one game against the Bengals last season, though the Ravens won, 19-17. The Bengals have a pair of solid cornerbacks in Chidobe Awuzie and Cam Taylor-Britt, but they’re adjusting to life without star safeties Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell, whom they replaced with Nick Scott and 2022 first-round pick Dax Hill. As disappointing as the Bengals were in their opening loss to the Browns, they did not lose because of pass defense. Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson completed just 16 of 29 passes for 154 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Burrow and the Bengals will be motivated not to start 0-2 in the AFC North. The Ravens are already in triage mode as they try to work around a series of injuries to key starters. That’s a daunting setup for a road trip that would not have been easy for the Ravens under the best circumstances. Bengals 23, Ravens 20
Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer
Aside from the Jets, I’m not sure any team had a more costly Week 1 victory than the Ravens. They lost running back J.K. Dobbins for the season, and safety Marcus Williams is expected to be out for a while. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum both suffered injuries and neither player participated in Wednesday’s practice. This is a banged-up group that goes to Cincinnati to face a Bengals team that got embarrassed in Week 1.
Cincinnati could not handle the rain in Cleveland or the Browns defense. The Bengals’ success rate on offense was not only the worst for any team in Week 1, but it also would have qualified as the second-worst performance by any team all of last season. Only the Jets’ Week 11 showing against the Patriots was worse.
I hate going against the Ravens in spots like this because we know they’re going to have a special teams edge. But the Bengals are healthier, and I don’t think last week’s loss reflects who they’re going to be this season.
The pick: Bengals (-3)