TV: NFL Network
Spread: Bengals -1
This game is a battle for the early lead in the AFC North division between two bitter rivals. The Ravens won 47-3 last week against the hapless Buffalo Bills, while the Bengals rallied from two touchdowns down to defeat the Colts in Indianapolis. Last year the Bengals eliminated the Ravens from the playoffs in the final seconds and you can be guaranteed that the Ravens have not forgotten that.
Flacco’s new weapons–Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead–all caught touchdowns from Joe Flacco in Week 1. Add in Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have more weapons than they have had in a long time. The biggest problem for the Bengals will be how to prepare for Jackson. The Bills game was over so quick there is still no true indication as to how the Ravens will deploy Jackson on offense.
Another big key for a Ravens victory will be the defense’s ability to attack Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. The Bengals offensive line has improved but look for the Ravens to try to take advantage of Bengals right tackle Bobby Hart, who was horrible in the Bengals week one win over the Colts.
The Bengals have multiple weapons on offense and not just in the passing game. Running back Joe Mixon was outstanding in the Bengals 34-23 win last week and gives the Bengals a diversified attack that the Ravens simply don’t have. Defensively the Bengals employ a pass rush that includes Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and Carl Lawson and they should be able to pressure Joe Flacco.
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