Analysis

Ravens Looking for Revenge in AFC North Matchup With Bengals

Ja'Marr Chase Kevin Seymour Bengals Ravens 2021

The Cincinnati Bengals travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens in what should be an offensive shootout. The Bengals’ defense is statistically better than the Ravens’ unit, but nobody outside of the Bills, in the second half of last week’s win over the Ravens, has slowed down Lamar Jackson and this Ravens’ offense.

The Bengals got back on track by beating the Dolphins last week, and Cincinnati will have had 10 days to prepare for this AFC North showdown, while the Ravens have to get over a disappointing loss to the Bills. The Ravens are 2-2 and have given up fourth-quarter leads of 17-plus points in both of their losses.

 

Bengals Offense vs. Ravens Defense

Joe Burrow and the Bengals enter this contest as the 16th-ranked offense in the NFL. They average 22 points and 257 yards per game through the air, which is good for eighth in the NFL. They have struggled to get Joe Mixon and the run game going. They have also struggled protecting Burrow, who has been sacked 16 times through four games. When given time, Burrow and his receiving corps are as good as it gets in the NFL. JaMarr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd will pose a huge challenge to this Ravens defense and secondary, which has been prone to giving up the big play and big leads this season. Baltimore has given up a league-worst 312 yards a game through the air and are 26th in the NFL in explosive passes of 16-plus yards allowed, with 25 total.

Where the Ravens’ defense has excelled is in taking the ball away; it is first in the NFL with 10 takeaways. Cincinnati will have to do a great job of protecting the ball and avoid throwing it into coverage against this ball-hawking secondary led by Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Williams. Lest we forget, this Bengals’ offense averaged more than 500 yards and 41 points a game in their two wins over the Ravens in 2021.

Ravens Offense vs. Bengals Defense

The Ravens average 29.8 points per game, while MVP candidate Lamar Jackson continues to shine. We all know Lamar’s ability as a runner, but through four games, his passer rating of 105.1 is good for second-best in the NFL. This Ravens’ offense has been virtually unstoppable; their rush attack has been all Jackson, even though they did get J.K. Dobbins back last week.

Lamar’s favorite target is tight end Mark Andrews, who leads the Ravens in receptions with 24. Devin Duvernay and Rashod Bateman are second and third in receiving, and provide Jackson with big-play, downfield opportunities.

The Bengals’ defense is led by coordinator Lou Anarumo and bookends Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard. They currently rank 11th in total yards allowed per game and are ranked in the top 5 in 10 different defensive categories. This is a very deep and experienced group that plays with great energy and physicality. It’s not a complicated scheme that Anarumo runs, but one that does all the little things right. They don’t give up big plays, they are tough to score on (seventh-best red-zone defense) and have only given up four touchdowns (first) so far.

Strap up that chin strap, bring your neck roll, and double down on the mouth piece. This will be another AFC North heavyweight bout, with the Ravens trying to avenge two blowout losses to the Bengals in 2021.

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