The Cincinnati Bengals will travel to M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday to take on division rival the Baltimore Ravens. The Bengals haven’t won in Baltimore since 2009 but this year feels different with offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther at the wheel. This game will most likely set a tone for the season and the Bengals must find ways to win games on the road, especially in the division.
Andy Dalton has never won in Baltimore and but has plenty of success against the Ravens at home, winning 2 of 3 in Paul Brown Stadium. This defense is back to healthy and Geno Atkins is a key to this defenses success. The Ravens running game is in trouble with Ray Rice suspended and Bernard Pierce coming off a concussion.
Keys to the Game:
This defense must keep up with the passing game, while still keeping Pierce at bay. Something that they were able to do in last year’s overtime loss. The offense must be put points on the board. Andy Dalton must limit his mistakes while making smart choices and he can’t count on a last minute hail mary bouncing his way again.
The offense has to establish a strong balance early and work on a short game, short passes and quick outs. The defense has to keep a deep wide receiver core at bay while controlling two young running backs, in Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill.
In a game that could go either way, I think missing Ray Rice’s experience and the attention he can demand by a defense cannot go unnoticed. These teams are still structured very similar to last year but the training and preparation goes to the Bengals with a lot of offseason work by some key pieces.
Bengals win 20-17 in a great game, which will come down to the last drive.