The NFL season is now fully underway, as fourteen games have already been played.
And there are still two more that remain to be played.
One will see the Bengals, a year after their surprising playoff run, heading to Baltimore to take on the Ravens, who narrowly missed out on a trip to the Super Bowl.
Baltimore begins this season after being so close to beating the Patriots and making the Super Bowl last year.
It is a new year, which means the Ravens defense is another year older. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs are only getting longer in the tooth, but it is still tough to doubt their collective talents and intelligence.
Suggs, though, will be out with a torn Achilles tendon for most of the season, so that only furthers the possible troubles for the Ravens on defense.
On offense, Baltimore has the strong core of Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and Torrey Smith. Smith had a breakout rookie season as he caught seven of Joe Flacco’s 20 touchdown passes.
Flacco will surely have another solid season considering he has thrown for at least 3,600 yards and 20 touchdowns during each of the past three seasons. He has also reached the playoffs in each of his first four seasons, and that trend will likely continue this season.
Ray Rice has also made the playoffs in every season of his NFL career, while rushing for at least 1,220 yards in each of the past three seasons. He is always a consistent performer, which makes the Ravens such a tough team to stop.
Thus, even if the defense if getting older, the offense is counter-balancing the decline by becoming more experienced and stronger overall, making the Ravens a still-formidable opponent for anyone.
Andy Dalton and AJ Green led the Bengals to the playoffs in their rookie seasons. This year will certainly be filled with pressure to return to the postseason.
There is a new face in the backfield as BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be the feature back for Cincy. Cedric Benson is now in Green Bay after being the main threat in Cincy for the past few years.
The Bengals went 0-2 against Baltimore last season, and only 2-4 in the AFC North. Most of their wins were against teams who were much lesser opponents. Their schedule is significantly tougher this season, which makes winning in the division all the more important. (They can’t simply rely on the Browns to boost their record in the division).
Baltimore has gotten the better of Cincinnati as of late, and that trend will continue tonight. The Ravens are simply the better team in this matchup.
The Bengals must prove that they will be a consistent team. Until they prove that, do not look for a repeat of last season in Cincy.
Ravens 27 | Bengals 17
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Game Info
- Bengals-Ravens Date: Monday, September 10
- Bengals-Ravens Kickoff Time: 7 PM
- Bengals-Ravens TV Network: ESPN
- Bengals-Ravens Point Spread: Ravens -6
- Bengals-Ravens Over-Under Odds: 41