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Previewing the Ravens vs. Bengals Week 2 Showdown

Can the Ravens overcome their early injury issues?

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens are heading to Paycor Stadium on Sunday to face the Cincinnati Bengals for the first of their two regular season matchups.

Teams (Records)

Baltimore Ravens: 1-0

Cincinnati Bengals: 0-1

Odds (Courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

Ravens: +3
Moneyline: Ravens +140; Bengals -166

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.

Last 5 Games In Series

Bengals have won four of the past five matchups, including last season in the playoffs.

Matchup History

Ravens lead the all-time series 28-27.

Injury Report

Overcoming Injury

The Ravens have the roster to be in the upper echelon of teams in the NFL. A calculated blend of star talent, veteran additions and youthful potential lead with a rock-solid coaching unit. The only thing getting in their way is the bane of sports: injury.

It took one week for things to go sideways injury-wise and now the Ravens have gone from fighting with swords in a sword fight to a dagger in their off hand.

Is it for the rest of the season? Hopefully no. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is likely to be back within a couple games. The same goes for center Tyler Linderbaum and tight end Mark Andrews. They’re expected to gain back cornerback Marlon Humphrey and outside linebacker Tyus Bowser, too. So, help is on the way. But for Week 2, they’re without cornerstones of the roster.

The Ravens’ most valuable players on the Ravens’ roster not named Lamar Jackson have been Stanley and Humphrey. When Stanley’s on the offensive line, the Ravens win football games. When he’s on the sideline, they struggle to push the ball downfield by land or by air. On defense, Humphrey’s the Ravens’ MVP. His ability to clamp down a third of the field with coverage and physical run support bleeds into the rest of the defensive game plan for the better.

With these two out, Williams and Linderbaum, the Ravens have a lot to overcome against one of the best teams of last season. They have a challenge to overcome. But make no mistake, it’s hostile territory for the Ravens this Sunday against a team largely healthy.

Running the Rock

To begin the season, it appeared the Ravens were going to heavily use running back J.K. Dobbins, then spelling in Justice Hill and Gus Edwards. But a torn Achilles for Dobbins leaves the Ravens solving a new distribution of carries.

According to Head Coach John Harbaugh, expect a committee approach.

“There’s very few of those situations when you have one guy taking almost all the carries and one or two guys spelling; you just don’t see it that much anymore,” Harbaugh said. “And we’re in that place where we have a bunch of really good backs; great guys [and] great players, and they’re all different. They all bring a little something different to the table. So, it’s just a lot of value in putting guys out there, and in today’s offense, you move them around, you put them in different places, you run different plays with them and try to play to their strengths as much as possible.”

Pass Rush vs. Bengals Blocking

In talking with some of the Ravens pass rushers this week, many believe it’s on their shoulders to carry the team to victory in Week 2. They started strong against the Houston Texans in Week 1 and the pressure helped to generate takeaways and get the offense the ball consistently. But against the high-flying offense of the Bengals, the best way to keep their receivers from getting involved is never letting Joe Burrow deliver them a clean shot.

Furthering the Offense

The Ravens offense will take time to become a well-oiled machine. The patience and understanding was there during training camp and the preseason. But after Week 1 gave inconsistent results, fans are quick to show concern. This is going to be a longer process than many are accepting of, but it’s the reality. The Bengals defense will be a strong test to sharpen the Ravens’ skillset for the lengthy season upon them.