Bengals vs. Ravens: What to Look For

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Jan 1, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens line up during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals need this game, but for completely different reasons. A win for the Bengals secures the No. 3 seed and keeps their chances alive for the No. 2 seed.

A loss by the Ravens almost certainly precludes their chances of defending their Super Bowl crown. I expect this week 17 matchup to be nothing short of the usual black and blue AFC North matchup.

So, here is What to Look For….

When the Ravens Run the Ball:

Ravens Running Attack: 28th – 85.4 ypg

Bengals Run Defense: 6th – 99.8 ypg

Ray Rice of 2013 is not the Ray Rice from the past few years. Going into Sunday, Rice has just 645 yards rushing (26th) and is averaging a pedestrian 3.1 YPC. Bernard Pierce has been no better – just 408 yards and 2.8 YPC. The Bengals defense and their 6th ranked rushing defense is not a welcomed sight for any run game, especially the weak running attack of the Ravens.

In their week 10 matchup, the Ravens rushed exactly for their average (85 yards) and 18 of those were on one run by their backup QB. I don’t see much changing in this matchup. I expect the Bengals defense to shut down the Ravens run game.

Advantage: Bengals