Ravens at Bengals Preview

Sports and Bets — October 26, 2014 at 12:15 pm by

The Ravens (5-2) are going into Cincinnati (3-2-1) for a pivotal AFC North rematch. The Bengals won the first matchup 23-16 in Week One, but as the great Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Damn, shit done changed.” The Bengals raced out to a 3-0 start, but have faltered since their Week Four bye, going 0-2-1 in their last three games. The Ravens have made drastic improvements on both sides of the ball in recent weeks, and now boast the number one scoring defense in the league and the best point differential (+89). It’s time for the Ravens to avenge their Week One loss, and move into the driver’s seat for the AFC North crown.

2014 Stats (per game)
Points – Baltimore: 27.6, Cincinnati: 22.3
Points Allowed – Baltimore: 14.9, Cincinnati: 23.3
Pass Yards – Baltimore: 255.7, Cincinnati: 241.8
Rush Yards – Baltimore: 131.4, Cincinnati: 111.5
Pass Yards Allowed – Baltimore: 258.4, Cincinnati: 270.3
Rush Yards Allowed – Baltimore: 87.4, Cincinnati: 146.3
Turnover Differential – Baltimore: plus 0.43, Cincinnati: plus 0.83

Ravens Inactives
CB Chyke Brown
RB Bernard Pierce
LB Arthur Brown
OL Gino Gradkowski
OL Jah Reid
TE Owen Daniels
DE Chris Canty

Bengals Inactives
WR A.J. Green
LB Rey Maualuga
DT Brandon Thompson
CB Chris Lewis-Harris
RB Rex Burkhead
DE Will Clarke
OG Tanner Hawkinson

Ravens’ Offense vs. Bengals’ Defense
The Bengals’ defense has been getting gashed as of late, giving up an average of 35.7 points over their last three games. They’ve been dreadful against both the pass and the run over these three games, giving up an average of 301.3 passing yards and 179.3 rushing yards per game. This is terrific news for a Ravens offense that appears to hitting their stride. Eugene Monroe and Kelechi Osemele coming back into the mix should help the Ravens win the battle in the trenches, which is especially crucial with Joe Flacco’s putrid career numbers in Cincinnati. In six career games at Paul Brown Stadium, Flacco has completed 58.2% of his passes, averaged 164.2 passing yards per game, and thrown for 5 TDs and 9 INTs. With Owen Daniels getting injured, the Ravens will need rookie Crockett Gillmore to step up in a big way. Personally, I think he’s up for the challenge, and I’m looking forward to repeatedly saying, “Nice catch by Crockett Gillmore. Who the hell is Crockett Gillmore?”

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The Ravens would be wise to stay committed to the running game in their rematch against the 30th ranked run defense. In their Week One clash, the Ravens passed the ball 62 times and only ran it 20 times, despite averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Justin Forsett was especially effective, running for 70 yards and a TD on 11 carries.

Ravens’ Defense vs. Bengals’ Offense
After only posting five sacks through their first five games, the Ravens defense erupted to record 10 sacks over their last two games. 8.5 of the sacks have come from Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, and Pernell McPhee. That’s one dangerous fucking triumvirate, babes. They’ll need to bring their A-game today as Andy Dalton has only been sacked six times this year, which is tied for the second fewest in the league. In Week One, the Ravens didn’t sack or hit Dalton once. If the Ravens are able to consistently harass Dalton and make him uncomfortable in the pocket, I love their chances today. When Dalton faces pressure, he folds like a cheap suit.

dalton3

With A.J. Green out, the focal point of the Bengals’ offense is Giovani Bernard. Stopping Bernard will be no easy task as he’s one of the best duel threat running backs in the league. In Week One, Bernard only ran for 48 yards on 14 carries, but he added 62 yards on six catches. As talented as Bernard is, the number one scoring defense should be able to keep him in check. If C.J. Mosley, Daryl Smith, Haloti Ngata, Brandon Williams, and the rest of the front seven can successfully limit Bernard’s production, Dalton will be forced to make throws down the field to beat the Ravens. I’ll gladly take my chances of that happening.

Rapid Fire Facts
• Dumervil is tied for 2nd in the league with 7 sacks
• In his first season back from tearing his ACL, Geno Atkins only has 0.5 sacks and eight tackles.
• Cincinnati’s point differential is -6.
• Flacco is 2-4 in Paul Brown Stadium.
• In the Ravens’ five wins, they’ve outscored their opponents 96-17 in the first half. In their two losses, they’ve been outscored 21-3 at the half (Rant Sports).
• In their last 12 regular season home games, the Bengals have gone 11-0-1.
• The Bengals have never swept the Ravens in the John Harbaugh/Joe Flacco era.

Let’s go Ravens!

cover pic: NFL
Happy Gilmore pic: Hal L.’s Twitter
Dalton pic: Juan Elway

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