Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Expect the Bengals To Put Up Points 

This week, the Cincinnati Bengals are taking on the Baltimore Ravens. Mike Spector tells us what to expect, and he says there will be points scored in this one and a lot of them for the Bengals.
Mike Spector |
Tue, December 21, 5:20 PM EST | 4 min read
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Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Expect the Bengals To Put Up Points 

The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals are tied atop the AFC North standings at 8-6, making this week’s matchup colossal for each team’s chances of winning the division. The Bengals already own a 41-17 road victory at Baltimore earlier this season, so the Ravens have their work cut out for them to correct all the bad things that allowed that game to slip away from them. Will Cincinnati sweep the season series and take a massive step to securing their first AFC North title since 2015? Or will the Ravens end their three-game losing streak in their biggest game of the season to date? 

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Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals INJURY REPORT

 BALTIMORE:

Questionable: QB Lamar Jackson, LB Pernell McPhee, 

OUT: LB Justin Houston, FB Patrick Ricard, G Patrick Mekari

CINCINNATI:

QUESTIONABLE: DE Khalid Kareem, G Hakeem Adeniji, RB Joe Mixon

OUT: LB Joe Bachie, LB Logan Wilson, OT Isaiah Prince, CB Vernon Hargreaves III

Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals Prediction 

It was not pretty, but the Bengals avoided a three-game losing streak of their own with a 15-10 road win at Denver last week. The 15 points were the fewest in a victory for the franchise since 2014. Cincinnati has won at least eight games for the first time since 2015 and would clinch the AFC North if they can win their final three games. 

One of the keys to Cincinnati’s win over Denver outside of a stout defensive performance was that they did not turn the ball over. The Bengals have played turnover-free football in three games this season and have won all three.

Though Baltimore enters this game on a three-game losing streak, they are a couple of bounces away from having a stranglehold on the AFC North. Baltimore’s last three losses have come by a total of four points, as head coach John Harbaugh has come under scrutiny for going for game-winning two-point conversions. In losses to the Steelers and Packers, Harbaugh went for two down one point, eschewing a game-tying extra point that could have sent each game to overtime. In between those excruciating losses was a two-point loss to Cleveland, in which they rallied from a 24-3 deficit. They had a chance to win the game late after recovering an onsides kick, but their final drive stalled.

 The biggest question surrounding this game is the health of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Earlier last week, the team announced Jackson had a “chance to play,” but they ultimately kept him out after being diagnosed with a bone bruise in his ankle. However, despite playing without their MVP quarterback, backup Tyler Huntley played admirably in relief of Jackson in the loss to Cleveland and the entire game last week against Green Bay. Against the Packers, Huntley became the first-ever Raven with at least two touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns in the same game.

 One thing that should concern Bengals backers is that entering last week, Joe Burrow’s 41 sacks taken were the most in the league. In addition, Cincinnati’s offensive line ranked 31st in the league with a 47% pass block win rate, and the 2.7 average seconds Burrow has to throw with each dropback is the seventh-fewest in the league.

However, there are plenty of reasons for optimism if you are a Cincinnati backer. In the first matchup between these teams, Burrow threw for a season-high 416 yards, 10.9 yards per attempt, and finished with a 78.1 total QBR. However, he now faces an entirely different Ravens secondary that has lost two more key players since their first meeting. In addition, Burrow took just one sack in that game, while the Bengals defensive line lived in the backfield and sacked Lamar Jackson five times.

With Jackson’s status still up in the air, it is difficult to analyze the game from a point spread perspective. Regardless, we are confident that Cincinnati’s offense will once again find success against Baltimore’s depleted secondary. Cincinnati has averaged 30 PPG in their seven home games this year, and their team total is much too low entering this week.

Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals Pick 

  • PICK: BENGALS TEAM TOTAL OVER 23.5 POINTS (-110)

Mike Spector
@MikeSpector01

Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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