Sunday’s game between the Bengals and the Ravens is one of, if not the best game on the schedule this week. Cincinnati has a Goliath sized challenge on the road in Baltimore against a blazing team that has won five-straight games.
Here are three keys to victory with first place on the line:
Cincinnati’s defense must create turnovers because Baltimore’s offense is one of the most explosive in the league. Lamar Jackson, who is 5-0 against the Bengals in his career, has elevated his passing game in 2021 stretching defenses to the max in every way possible. Jackson’s crew ranked at the very bottom of the league in passing yards last year and so far his season, they’ve managed to elevate to 11th in the NFL averaging 266.5 passing yards per game. Even when Jackson’s stats are limited like they were last week (167 yards, 2 INT’s, 51 rush yards), the ground game is able to get the job done.
The team that creates more turnovers and produces points as a result will likely be the winner in this game.
Stop Ravens Rushing Attack
Running the ball is Baltimore’s bread and butter. This area of their game is so balanced that Cincinnati’s defense cannot afford to compromise their integrity versus the run. The Ravens average just over 155 rushing yards per game, but last week alone we saw them rack up 187 rushing yards on 38 carries with Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell scoring touchdowns en route to a 34-6 win over the AFC West leading Chargers.
Bengals must fast, aggressive, and find a way to contain this rushing attack, and get off of the field as soon as possible on Sunday. They don’t want to give Baltimore ample opportunities to torch them like the Ravens have done to other teams this year.
Convert on 3rd Down
The Ravens’ defensive line has a big goal on Sunday, and that goal is to brutalize Joe Burrow. The offensive line will need to play their best game of the season to stop that relentless attack on their quarterback.
Baltimore is top ten in sacks (tied for 9th) and QB hits (tied for 8th).
Cincinnati’s offensive line has given up 16 sacks so far this season, and they cannot allow many more in Sunday’s AFC North showdown. Protect him, and allow him to go to work and expose this defense.
Baltimore’s defense made waves last week when they held the Chargers to just six points and 208 total yards of offense. Los Angeles was also 3-for-12 on third down and 1-of-4 on fourth down. The Bengals cannot follow that trend if they want to win their fifth game of the year.
The Ravens defense has a swagger that is growing week-by-week, but Joe Burrow might have more swagger than Baltimore's entire defensive unit put together. He’ll be under a lot of pressure Sunday, but that is when he does his best work.
For more on this game, watch the video below.
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