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By: RSR Staff
Winning four of their past five games, the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) host the Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) for a primetime divisional battle at M&T Bank Stadium this Thursday (8:15 p.m. kickoff). Currently the Ravens are listed as 4-point favorites with the over/under set at 46. If you want to wager on the game, we have a promo on the new ESPN Bet app. Get a $250 guaranteed bonus with this ESPN Bet promo when you click here to sign up and use our promo code RUSSELL.
Baltimore stands atop the AFC North standings, while Pittsburgh and Cleveland are tied for second at 6-3. (The AFC North is the NFL’s only division with each team sporting a winning record.) This marks the third-straight season and sixth-ever campaign (also 2004, 2010-11 & 2021-22) that Baltimore has produced a 7-3 record through 10 games played.
The Ravens lead the regular season series vs. Cincinnati, 29-26. Under head coach John Harbaugh, Baltimore is 16-15 against the Bengals, with a 10-5 mark in Charm City. In Week 2 earlier this season in Cincinnati, the Ravens emerged with a 27-24 victory behind a balanced offensive attack (237 passing & 178 rushing). Baltimore’s defense was equally impressive, limiting the Bengals to 282 yards – including just 66 rushing.
How will it play out on Thursday night?
After the debacle at The Bank on Sunday, many have lost hope. Most now see the Ravens as regular season contenders, postseason pretenders. The ending of that story is still to be determined but count me among those who believe that there’s a bounce-back game in store for the Ravens on the national stage.
Since Mike Macdonald has arrived as the DC, the Ravens are (2-2) v. Cincinnati. The two losses took place on Tyler Huntley’s watch. The two wins on Lamar Jackson’s. Guess who’s starting on Thursday night? Guess who hasn’t thrown for over 222 yards against the Ravens in his last four starts against the black-clad squad? You feelin’ me?
• The Ravens had 415 yards of offense against the Bengals in Cincinnati during Week 2. They’ll eclipse that total by 25 yards, once again with a balanced attack (210 yards passing, 230 yards rushing).
• Baltimore’s ability to run the football, thanks to 120 yards from Keaton Mitchell on 10 carries, including a score from 35 yards out, allows them to win the battle for time of possession, 35 to 25.
• Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews both collect scoring throws from Lamar. Bateman’s will come from 25+ yards out while Andrews comes from deep in the red zone.
• Joe Burrow will eclipse his average of 216 yards passing per game against the Macdonald-guided Ravens defense, but the majority of his 245 yards will come during mop-up duty. Burrow will throw for 2 scores, both to Trenton Irwin who fills in for the dangerous Tee Higgins. Irwin will lead all receivers with 80 yards receiving to go with his two scores, the second of which will occur with under 1 minute left in regulation.
• During the last four contests between these teams, Macdonald’s defense has sacked Burrow a total of 9 times. During this game? Burrow will get face-planted 5 times. Patrick Queen leads the charge with two takedowns of his former LSU teammate.
The Ravens take charge in the North and get to relax for a few days before they’re going to California with no aching in their hearts.
Ravens 27 Bengals 17
Hard to believe that a team with a 7-3 record has a November game that’s a “must-win” …but here we are. The division remains annoyingly good and the Ravens have allowed it to stay close after handing three games to their opponents in losses. Do they still have a chance to capture the division if this game goes south? Sure. Does it still feel like they NEED to take this game to right the ship a little bit?
You’re damn skippy.
— Cincinnati enters this game allowing the third-most yards per game of any team in the NFL. After the head-scratching who-dunnit in last week’s post-game interviews surrounding Keaton Mitchell’s second half absence, he gets to work in this one. A lot of work. Mitchell will lead the Ravens in carries and rushing yardage in this one, and he finds the end zone again.
— With several members of Baltimore’s secondary being walking wounded, Ja’Marr Chase continues to land somewhere between a thorn in our side and a pain in our ass with a long TD catch and run. However, Joe Burrow isn’t able to escape the pressure of mixed blitzes, and is sacked six times as Baltimore’s defense shows its teeth again.
— After some (completely unwarranted) rumbling from Ravens Flock regarding Justin Tucker, he reminds everyone he is, in fact, That Dude. As time expires to end the first half, Tuck nails a 60-yarder from the logo.
It’s a get-right game. It has to be.
Ravens 31 Bengals 16
A Thursday night tilt against one of the Ravens’ toughest rivals, following yet another fourth-quarter collapse, stirs up a ton of thoughts.
The Bengals present a ton of problems on the offensive side of the ball, and while it’s important that the Ravens don’t let them march up and down the field all night, it’s even more critical that the good guys limit explosives. They just can’t expect to give up “easy” points in this one.
Let’s look at some bold predictions:
- Lamar Jackson knows how big this one is, and he will use his legs a little more than normal. Look for the Ravens’ signal-caller to put up more than 125 yards on the ground.
- Odafe Oweh continues his strong play, notching two sacks and forcing a turnover.
- Rashod Bateman gets a 60-plus yard reception.
- Mark Andrews has two touchdown catches.
Bengals 24 Ravens 23
This kicks off a stretch where, barring flexes, the Ravens will play four of five games in prime time. This is also the only of the four at home (@ Chargers, @ Jags, @ 49ers). They need to take advantage of the inherent advantage that is playing at home on a short week. I watched the Bengals-Texans game last night, and I wish I could say I came away thinking Cincy is particularly vulnerable. What I saw instead was a team that yes, got gashed on the ground, but also that underestimated C.J. Stroud‘s ability to extend plays and pick up big chunks of yardage when things break down. They won’t make the same mistake with Lamar Jackson. On the other side, Joe Burrow threw a tipped-ball interception and a boneheaded one, but moved well and looked annoyingly like his old self. I worry that this is the week he finally solves Mike Macdonald a bit, thanks largely to the absence of #44 in black.
— Keaton Mitchell has nine carries for 120+ yards, including a 60+ yard scamper. Gus Edwards adds another 10 for 80 and a touchdown.
— Odafe Oweh sacks Burrow twice.
— Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman each have 5+ receptions. OBJ hauls in four, while Mark Andrews scores a red zone TD.
— We haven’t head Roquan Smith‘s name called much lately. That changes tonight, as he sacks Burrow and intercepts him once, on a tipped pass.
The Ravens lead 17-10 at the half, and hang on down the stretch.
Ravens 30 Bengals 27
This should be a game where two super teams of the AFC clash; unfortunately injuries had to get in the way of that. The Bengals are just as injured as the Ravens right now with no Tee Higgins, or real healthy Edge rushers. But this balances out with the Ravens injuries as both Ronnie Stanley and Marlon Humphrey are expected to miss.
— Lamar bounces back and throws two plus touchdowns and no interceptions.
— Keaton Mitchell sees a bigger workload and he has ten-plus carries.
— The Bengals offensive line struggles and the Ravens pass rush haunts Burrow all game leading to some bad sacks and turnovers.
— The Bengals still do get some points from Chase with Marlo being hurt.
This has to be a get right game for the Ravens.
Ravens 27 Bengals 10
Baltimore’s fourth quarter collapse in Sunday’s 33-31 loss to Cleveland marked the end of what seemed to be a carefree and easy four-game win streak. Now that the Ravens have come back down to Earth to remind everyone of their instability in the fourth quarter, my confidence in this team going into Thursday night is much lower, but they are still more than capable of getting the job done. The Bengals have just as much working against themselves, if not more. The 30-27 loss to Houston is as great of a momentum killer as Baltimore’s loss, and they also had to travel to Baltimore with only four days in between games. That’s a big factor.
Here are my predictions:
— Keaton Mitchell finishes with more rushing attempts than Justice Hill.
— Joe Burrow is sacked at least three times, with Jadeveon Clowney being responsible for one of them by himself.
— Mark Andrews tops 60 receiving yards.
— Cincinnati scores more points than Baltimore in the fourth quarter, attempting a late-game comeback that’s nearly successful before time expires.
I suspect the score to be about as close as last week’s, but Baltimore prevents its first losing streak of the season.
Ravens 19 Bengals 16
If there’s a must-win game on the docket for the Ravens this season, tomorrow’s matchup against the Bengals is it.
The good guys are pulling out all the stops to make this contest feel as big as possible. The all-black uniforms. The fan blackout. The halftime Big Boi concert.
And, hopefully, a Ravens win.
Harbaugh will likely be without LT Ronnie Stanley and CB Marlon Humphrey, two key cogs that will be sorely missed. Hopefully Morgan Moses is ready to go and can can bookend the line with the seemingly positionless Patrick Mekari. If anything’s going for the Ravens injury-wise, it’s that the Bengals receiver corps is pretty banged-up. Cincinnati will probably be missing Tee Higgins, and Ja’Marr Chase is still recovering from a back injury. Chase figures to play, but he won’t be his normal self…
Lamar gets back on track here, completing above 65% of his passes for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Keaton Mitchell’s usage ticks up a bit, especially in the passing game, and he totals over 60 scrimmage yards. The Gus Bus rolls into the end zone once again, and Tucker hits a game-winning field goal as time expires.
The defense isn’t its normal self, but Mike McDonald’s guys allow nothing but an ice-cold performance from “Joe Brrr”, aside from a long TD to Chase.
Ravens 24 Bengals 21
Both of these teams are searching for a win just four days removed from their tough Sunday losses. The Ravens once again beat themselves, but Cincinnati was unable to take advantage as they fell short against the red-hot Texans. All divisional games have implications, but this one is shaping up to be a heavyweight bout between two of the better teams in the conference, in a division that is still very much up for grabs. Baltimore needs a win to right the ship after a loss that seems like it shouldn’t have been, and Cincinnati needs a win to stay in divisional contention. Most importantly, football fans (that have Amazon Prime) have finally been blessed with an elite Thursday Night Football matchup.
Here are some bold predictions on how I see it going…
- Joe Burrow has averaged just 218 pass yards per game over the last three matchups against Baltimore. He fails to reach that number once again in part due to the likely absence of Tee Higgins.
- After Keaton Mitchell’s strange disappearance against Cleveland, Mitchell out-touches Gus Edwards and Justice Hill combined while racking up over 100 scrimmage yards.
- Odafe Oweh gets the best of Orlando Brown Jr., who Baltimore traded away in April of 2021 in order to get the pick Oweh was selected with. He picks up two sacks, including a strip sack to be recovered by Baltimore.
- Mike Macdonald’s defense allows 0 fourth quarter points and instead of another late game defensive collapse, they harden up and seal the deal by forcing one fourth quarter turnover.
The Ravens are 19-3 at home on primetime since John Harbaugh took over, in part due to the increased rowdiness of “The Flock” when the lights go out. The Ravens improve upon this elite record and take down Cincy in a raucous environment.
Ravens 26 Bengals 20
With both teams coming off of a loss, there should be no shortage of motivation. Although the Bengals are in last place I still believe they are the biggest threat to win the division over the Ravens. This Bengals team will not be the same team they faced earlier in the season. Burrow seems to be healthy now and is back in form. The Ravens have been teasing us with complete domination of teams and then collapsing on some of these losses. With the Colts they had so many chances to put that game away, couldn’t catch the ball against the Steelers, and blew two 14-point leads against the Browns. I know against the Bengals I want to see more Keaton Mitchell and less Marcus Williams until he’s much healthier. Geno Stone should be taking 100% of the snaps as he has most certainly earned it.
— Burrow has a much better game than last time with two touchdown passes and 250 yards.
— Bengals run game will be shut down with the Ravens only allowing just over 50 total rushing yards.
— Keaton Mitchell will show why he should have played more on Sunday scoring another touchdown and 100 rushing yards.
— Gus Edwards will also rush for a touchdown and 40 rushing yards.
— Lamar will pass for a touchdown, just over 200 passing yards and rush for another 50 yards.
— OBJ will be the recipient of the passing touchdown for his third straight game.
— Justin Madibuike will have yet another sack from the interior as he continues to be unstoppable.
— Jadeveon Clowney will have another sack.
— Brandon Stephens will have an interception.
Ravens 24 Bengals 20
This is one of the biggest games of the season for both teams and it’s basically a must win for each.
Both teams are coming off bad games on Sunday, where they each lost at home and while the Ravens loss was ugly, the Bengals lost to an inferior team and they were trailing for most of the game.
Both teams come into this game banged up and both will be without key players.
The Ravens have an outstanding Thursday night record and have been excellent at home in prime time games under Harbaugh.
I’ll take the Ravens here but I can’t say I’m overly confident. Cinci had been playing great prior to Sunday and maybe they were overlooking Houston some but they won’t be overlooking the Ravens.
Ravens 27 Cinci 24
The post RSR Predictions for Ravens-Bengals: Can the Ravens Deliver a Knockout? appeared first on Russell Street Report.
Originally posted on Russell Street Report