Ravens vs. Bengals Preview

Sports and Bets — September 7, 2014 at 4:36 am by

Fuck yeah, football is back! Being able to watch the Ravens play meaningful football once again is reason enough to be fired up, but playing the Bengals will add even more fuel to the fire. The Ravens’ season ended last year with an ugly Week 17 loss to the Bengals that snapped their streak of five consecutive trips to the playoffs. It was the first time in the Harbaugh/Flacco era that the Ravens watched the playoffs from their couches. The Ravens will take the field with that sour taste in their mouths, and the knowledge that a fast start to this season is imperative to take the AFC North crown. After playing the Bengals, the Ravens will play the Steelers on Thursday Night Football, then travel to Cleveland to face the Browns. I’m no genius, but I’m pretty sure that you can’t be 3-0 without winning the first one. It’s time for the Ravens to pummel these slapdicks, and start this season with a bang. It’s gameday, motherfuckers!

2013 Stats (per game)

Points – Baltimore: 20.0, Cincinnati: 26.9

Points Against – Baltimore: 22.0, Cincinnati: 19.1

Pass Yards – Baltimore: 224.4, Cincinnati: 258.5

Rush Yards – Baltimore: 83.0, Cincinnati: 109.7

Pass Yards Against – Baltimore: 230.1, Cincinnati: 209.0

Rush Yards Against – Baltimore: 105.4, Cincinnati: 96.5

Injury Report 

Bengals

RB Rex Burkhead – Out (Knee)

WR Marvin Jones – Out (Foot)

LB Sean Porter – Doubtful (Hamstring)

WR James Wright – Doubtful (Concussion)

CB Darqueze Dennard – Questionable (Hip)

Ravens

CB Lardarius Webb – Questionable (Back)

Ravens Offense vs. Bengals Defense

New OC Gary Kubiak will have a tall task ahead of him in his first game with the Ravens. He’ll be without the suspended Ray Rice, and the Bengals are returning the lion’s share of last year’s stingy defense. Their only two substantial losses were DE Michael Johnson and DC Mike Zimmer, which they should be able to replace without too much difficulty. They have plenty of depth on their d-line, and their new DC, Paul Guenther, has been an assistant with the team for the last nine years.

In last year’s two meetings between these two teams, the Ravens ran the ball a total of 44 times for only 132 yards. This year, the Ravens’ offensive line looks much better on paper, but dominating such a talented front seven is nearly impossible. I can’t see the Ravens being able to win this game by playing smash mouth football. But if the Ravens can run the ball well enough to keep the Bengals honest, it will really open things up for Flacco. A solid running attack, combined with the Ravens’ wide array of options in the passing game, should give them plenty of opportunities to put points on the board.

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Bengals Offense vs. Ravens Defense

With Jay Gruden leaving to coach the Redskins, our old pal Hue Jackson is now calling plays for the Bengals. While you never know who’s going to have an impact on any given Sunday, the Ravens will be very focused on limiting A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. They are by far the most dangerous offensive players for Cincy. Last year, Green combined to make 12 catches for 212 yards and two scores against the Ravens (with 51 yards and a TD coming on that lucky ass Hail Mary). Bernard rushed for 80 yards on 27 carries, and caught 13 balls for 88 yards and a score.

The Ravens’ biggest concern on defense is their secondary. They have a lot of talent in their back end, but injuries and a lack of depth and experience could cause them a lot of problems this season. Luckily for this week, it sounds like Lardarius Webb will be healthy enough to suit up, and they are facing a quarterback that has historically struggled against them.(Editor’s Note 9:30 a.m. Sunday: NFL Network is now reporting that Webb won’t play.) For his career, Andy Dalton is 2-4 against the Ravens, and one of those wins came in a meaningless Week 17 contest, where the incomparable Tyrod Taylor took most of the snaps for the Ravens. In these six games, Dalton’s completed only 53.9% of his passes with six TDs and 11 INTs. Let’s hope that the Ravens continue to have this rag arm, ginger’s number.

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Rapid Fire Facts

  • Mike Nugent only made 81.8% of his kicks last year, which was tied for 23rd best in the NFL.
  • Justin Tucker made 92.7% of his kicks last year, which was tied for 6th best in the NFL.
  • Last year, Jacoby Jones was 4th in the league in kickoff return average, while Brandon Tate was 9th.
  • Last year, Flacco completed 58.1% of his passes with three TDs and five INTs against the Bengals.
  • The Ravens went 1-1 against the Bengals last season.
  • The Ravens haven’t loss a home opener since 2005.
  • The Bengals have lost their last four games in Baltimore.
  • Dalton is 0-3 in Baltimore. He’s completed 53.6% of his passes with three TDs and seven INTs
  • The last time that the Ravens played the Bengals in Week 1 was 2012. The Ravens won 44-13, and went on to win the Super Bowl.

 

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