Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals: Preview and Prediction

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals: Preview and Prediction

If the secondary can continue to play sticky in coverage, the Bengals will be a playoff contending team as long as Andy Dalton and co. hold up their end of the bargain. Collins with be the shifty, bruising back for the Ravens and Allen is expected to handle most of the passing down work. On third down Dalton had wide receiver Tyler Boyd wide open across the middle of the field. Boyd caught the ball, slipped through the arms of two defenders and reached the end zone, completing a play that would redirect both franchises.

The Ravens never got out of the hole Green created for them.

And when the Bengals returned to Cincinnati after a second straight losing season, owner Mike Brown chose to give Lewis a two-year extension based in part upon the Bengals' 31-27 win that day.

With top cornerback Jimmy Smith serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's personal-conduct policy, Green will see more of Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr and Tavon Young.

The Bengals (1-0) haven't forgotten about it, either. "You always want to redeem yourself as best as you can, certainly, but it's not going to factor into who wins the game". The Bengals found themselves in a slugfest with the Colts, but a late scoop-and-score sealed the deal for the visitors in Indianapolis in a 34-23 final.

"We still have one (improvement) we need to make, one we haven't done a good job of in the first two games, which is making sure we close out football games", Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said.

The Ravens retooled their receiving group during the offseason to give Joe Flacco a better chance to shine, and the results last week were profound. It was clear he hadn't lost much as a player, but he had just four touchdowns in 2016.

That's the drive Dalton exploited the blitz on his way to completing 14 of 25 passes for 178 yards and a passer rating of 118 in the half.

They've also been rewarded by positive plays from rookies Jessie Bates, who had his first interception against the Ravens, and Sam Hubbard, who notched his first sack. AJ Green was the recipient of Dalton's other touchdown toss; he scored on a 38-yard reception in the third quarter and finished with six catches for 92 yards on eight targets. Second-year UDFA Hardy Nickerson had four tackles in relief last week and will likely be looked upon to start with Brown sidelined.

Dalton is coming off one of his worst seasons, tied largely to the offensive line's failures. Those three touchdown receptions went for 43 yards, and it seemed like Green was just getting started against a Ravens defense fighting for answers. Before his two-catch, 17-yard effort in the 2017 finale, Green racked up 37 catches for 678 yards and six touchdowns in the previous six meetings.

The Bengals honoured their 1988 Super Bowl team at halftime, their last team to go deep into the playoffs. He ran for 96 yards against the Ravens in the final game last season, and ran for 95 against the Colts in addition to catching five passes for 54 yards.

By the time the Ravens figured out what they needed to do, they were too far behind and their streak of five straight Thursday night wins was tottering. The Bengals are 18-45 in those games.

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