OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Bengals are confident they have the playmakers to contain Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The players from Baltimore don't appreciate the chatter.
"There’s definitely more hostility in the air," Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike said. "I hear they’re talking about how what they’re going to do, and ‘this and that,’ and we’re just going to talk with our pads and our helmets. That’s how we roll over here. [There’s] definitely hostility, and it’s going to be a bloodbath, for sure, and we’re ready for it. So, it’s going to be fun.”
Cincinnati does have an overhauled defense that is playing at a high level.
The Bengals are ranked eighth against the run (90.5 ypg) and 13th against the pass (240.5 ypg). Defensive end Trey Hendrickson has been dominant with 5.5 sacks.
Defensive tackle B.J. Hill has also been capable of getting to the quarterback with three sacks, Linebacker Logan Wilson has a team-leading four interceptions and 52 tackles in six games.
Defensive end Sam Hubbard has been stellar against the run.
Cincinnati also has familiarity with Baltimore's offense as an AFC North rival.
"Lamar hurts a lot of people in a lot of different ways," safety Jessie Bates III said. "But just having a dynamic pass rusher like Trey, Sam Hubbard and the rest of those guys helps limit those plays where he gets out of the pocket and things like that. I think we have a really good game plan going into this week, compared to other weeks where we've played them before."
Jackson is having an MVP-caliber performance over the first six games of 2021. Jackson is not only beating teams with his ability to run the football, but he's also making them pay for stacking the box by making explosive plays downfield to his wide receivers.
Jackson is ranked ninth in the NFL with 1,686 yards passing. He has thrown for nine touchdowns with six interceptions.
He also leads the team with 392 yards rushing with another two scores.
Still, the Bengals are looking forward to the matchup.
"I think our coaches did a great job of putting us in the right place for this game plan," Hendrickson says. "I've seen his film obviously for the last four years. It's not something I'm completely clueless about. He's a special talent and I look forward to the challenge."