NFL Game of the Week: Bengals vs. Ravens
A Week 7 matchup featuring two teams atop of the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) take on the Baltimore Ravens (5-1). Both teams are trending in the right direction going into the second half of the season, and this game will either shake up the division standings or prove how dominant the Ravens are.
Joe Burrow, the Bengals quarterback, is having a good second-year season with 14 touchdown passes. Quarterback Lamar Jackson on the other hand is having himself an even better year, stirring up the NFL MVP discussion, throwing for an impressive 1,686 yards so far ,while also leading the Ravens in rushing yards.
The Bengals are off to a better start to the season than most would’ve expected, but don’t be too convinced, as their wins come from teams such as the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Ravens have looked nearly perfect after their Week 1 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. If Baltimore wants to stick to its winning ways, it will have to make sure to contain Bengals’ receivers and keep a good pace with the ball on the ground and in the air.
The LSU connection of Burrow and receiver Ja’Marr Chase has been in full effect the whole season. Chase has caught 5 touchdowns with 553 receiving yards, which is the fourth best in the NFL. Chase will most likely be locked up by Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey which will prove Chase’s worth. As for the Bengals’ running game, Joe Mixon will have to get past a talented front seven of Baltimore if he wants to make a difference.
NFL analysts are beginning to add Jackson into the list of NFL MVP candidates and for good reason. His ability to change a game with his running abilities was obvious, but Jackson has started to become one of the league's best passing quarterbacks as well. Jackson has found targets Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews in the end zone for most of his nine touchdown passes.
Latavius Murray, Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman all scored rushing touchdowns for the Ravens in their blowout win against the Chargers. Murray scored a 14-yard touchdown to lead a dominant rushing performance. If the Ravens’ running backs perform like they did in Week 6, the talented Bengals defense will surely have its hands full.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bengals have been the key factor for some of the team’s wins. When the offense struggles to find big plays, players such as Trey Hendrickson and Logan Wilson have been a huge impact to the team’s success. Wilson has three interceptions and Hendrickson has 5.5 sacks in just six games.
The Ravens will have the edge on the defensive side, as they usually come out of the tunnel with lots of energy. The Bengals’ offense typically takes a while to get going, so the Ravens will be ready to pounce early. Baltimore linebackers have lit up the backfield so far, as Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser have a combined 30 yards from sacks. If the Ravens can apply constant pressure to a young Burrow, they will most likely cause lots of trouble for Cincinnati’s offense.
This will be a statement game for the Ravens if they can continue their winning ways from last season, outscoring the Bengals 65-6 over the course of two games. The Bengals will have to be stellar on both sides of the ball to keep up with the high-intensity playstyle of Baltimore.
The Ravens open as six-point favorites, looking to cap off their home stretch with a big division win. Tune into CBS at 1 p.m. on Sunday to watch a confident pair of young quarterbacks go toe-to-toe in Baltimore’s inner harbor at M&T Bank Stadium.
Daniel Maiorana is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.