Five Bengals to Watch vs. The Ravens

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Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Terence Newman (23) and safety Reggie Nelson (20) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Whoever Matches Up Against Steve Smith

The Bengals understand the talent and potential impact of Ravens’ receiver Torrey Smith, but they’ve yet to see Steve Smith in this offense.  Say what you want about the veteran wide receiver (everyone seems to have an opinion), but I certainly don’t doubt a motivated Smith.  The Bengals will need to respect the wide receiver compliment that the Ravens may finally possess in Smith or they may expose themselves to some big plays.  Smith has acknowledged feeling uncomfortable in the west coast offense, but I still wouldn’t put it past Smith to have a big game.  Both of the Ravens’ receivers have shown a real penchant for coming up with big plays and an ability down the field, so being aware of this will be key for the Bengals.

Fortunately the Bengals possess a talented and intelligent group in the secondary.  Presumably the Bengals will have veteran cornerback Terence Newman matched up with Smith.  Newman may not possess the speed and athleticism he once did, but he’s still capable of making big plays and containing receivers.  Newman always manages to keep receivers in front of him, which discourages any big gains to come against him.  This will be especially important as the Bengals seek to make the Ravens throw the ball more often than they’d like (Flacco had five interceptions of his own against the Bengals last year).  Respecting the Ravens newest weapon will be important, but as the Bengals possess a good mix of talent and intelligence in the secondary, dealing with anything the Ravens throw at them should be well within the secondary’s grasp.