Baltimore Ravens Vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Bold Predictions For Important AFC North Contest
The Baltimore Ravens will look to get back on the winning track when they host the Cincinnati Bengals at M &T Bank Stadium on November 27. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (ET) and the game will be televised on CBS.
Baltimore (5-5) is coming off a disappointing loss to the Dallas Cowboys as its No. 1 defense got torched for 417 yards and 27 points. Both of those totals are the second highest that the Ravens have given up this season. The loss dropped the Ravens into a first place tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) in the AFC North division.
Baltimore moved the ball down the field against the Cowboys, but managed only 17 points. The Ravens have now been held to less than 20 points in three of their last six contests. The loss to the Cowboys ended the Ravens’ two-game winning streak.
Cincinnati (3-6-1) are winless in its last three games, falling to the Buffalo Bills 16-12 for their second consecutive loss. The Bengals missed two extra-point attempts and committed two turnovers against the Bills. Still, the Bengals had a chance to win the game in the waning seconds, but Andy Dalton’s 30-yard heave was batted down in the end zone by Bills’ defenders as time expired.
This is the first meeting between the division rivals this season. The Bengals have won five straight to even up the all-time series at 20 wins apiece.
The Ravens defense will hold the Bengals to less than 330 yards of total offense
Despite the poor outing against Dallas, the Ravens’ defense is still a top-tier defense. Baltimore is ranked No.2 in the league in total yards allowed (295.0), No. 7 in passing defense (219.1), and No. 1 in rushing defense (76.0).
The Ravens do not give up big plays on the ground, as they hold opponents to 3.4 yards a carry, and have given up just three runs of 20 or more yards. Baltimore held NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliot to a long run of 14 yards on Sunday. The Ravens are more prone to give up big plays through the air; however, they have given up only 26 plays of 20 or more yards though six plays have gone longer than 40 yards. They gave up a 41-yard completion to Cowboys’ wide receiver Brice Butler in their last game.
We're going to keep working.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 23, 2016
Cincinnati is averaging 372.2 yards a game, which is the 10th most in the league. The Bengals are averaging 259.4 passing yards and 113.3 yards on the ground. The Bengals offense is capable of big plays, totaling 42 plays of 20 yards or more and 13 plays of 40 yards or more.
Dalton is on pace to have his second best season of his career, completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 276 yards a game along with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has struggled in his last two games, combining to throw for 411 yards and three interceptions while completing 55.0 percent of his passes.
Cincinnati will be without its two top playmakers against the Ravens. Wide receiver A.J. Green is out with a hamstring injury and backup running back Bernard has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury per ESPN. Tight end Tyler Eifert is capable of making an impact though he missed the first six games due to an injury. Eifert, who will likely see double teams with Green out, has 16 receptions with a career-high average of 15.3 yards per catch.
Running back Jeremy Hill will be called on to carry more of the backfield load with Bernard out. He leads the team with 623 rushing yards on 135 carries or 4.6 yards per carry. Those numbers are a little deceptive as he ran for 168 yards on nine carries against the Cleveland Browns in Week 7. Hill garnered 62 yards on 16 carries last week against the Bills, and has averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry in eight of his 10 games.
The Ravens will run for more than 100 yards
The Ravens are not the best running team in the league, averaging 87.4 yards a game — 27th in the league. But the Ravens ran the ball well against the Cowboys, and rookie Kenneth Dixon has shown flashes of brilliance the last two games. The Ravens’ biggest problems with the run game has been abandoning it too early, penalties, and negative plays. Baltimore ranks 25th in the league with 23.5 carries a game. They rank fourth in the NFL with 44 offensive penalties and have had 22 negative running plays.
? that lead blocking, courtesy of @JuiceCheck44.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 23, 2016
The Ravens have surpassed the 100-yard mark on the ground in each of the past two games — accumulating 101 against the Cowboys last week and 118 yards against the Browns two weeks ago. Starter Terrence West has been effective though he doesn’t get a lot of attempts. West is averaging 14 rushing attempts a game and 3.9 yards a carry. He has one-100-yard games and three games over 80 yards.
Dixon doesn’t get a lot of carries as he has 27 carries this year with 21 coming over the last three games. The 22-year-old rookie has averaged over six yards per carry the last two games, totaling 78 yards on 12 attempts.
Cincinnati has one of the worst defenses against the run, giving up the fifth most yards a game (123.4). The Bengals have allowed six runs of 20 or more yards and they give up 4.6 yards per carry.
Cincinnati has permitted their opposition to reach the 100-yard plateau in four consecutive games, including 183 yards to the Bills. The Bengals average 2.6 tackles for losses a game with linebacker Karlos Dansby leading the way with six run stuffs. Dansby also is the team’s leading tackler with 67.
The Ravens will record at least two sacks
The Ravens don’t have the most fierce pass rush, but still they have accumulated 23 sacks — which ranks 12th in the league. The Ravens have registered 12 sacks in the last four games, and have five multi-sack games. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs leads the team with six sacks while defensive end Timmy Jernigan has five. Rookies Matt Judon (three) and Michael Pierce (two) also have multiple sacks.
Cincinnati’s offensive line is not very good at pass blocking. The Bengals rank 27th in pass blocking as they have allowed 29 sacks this year. They also have allowed Dalton to be hit a total of 51 times.
The Ravens will win by more than a touchdown
Baltimore is currently favored by four points according to Oddsshark.
The Ravens really need this game to keep their edge in the race for the AFC North division crown. Neither team scores a ton of points, and the Bengals are really banged up.
Baltimore has won two straight at home and is 3-2 overall at M&T Bank Stadium, outscoring their opponents by an average of over five points a game in those contests. Cincinnati is 1-4-1 in road games, having gone winless in their last five contests away from home. The Bengals have been outscored by 48-47 in their last two games away from Paul Brown Stadium. However, three of their road losses have been by more than a touchdown.
[Featured Image by Ron Jenkins/AP Images]