Bengals Fans, Are You Ready For Some Football?
Dec 15, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals fan Shawn “Whodeybaby” Moore looks on during the pre-game before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Bengals at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, football season is here! Christmas in September has arrived and football is on our televisions from now until February. With fantasy teams set and Red Zone at our beck and call, all is right in the toy box of life. So let’s get right to it. With the football world chomping at the bit for week 1 and the AFC North wasting no time matching its teams against each other, who will come out on top?
Being consistent with earlier picks, I believe this is the year that Andy Dalton goes into Baltimore and comes out victorious. Yes, I remember 2012’s Monday night debacle that led to a 44-13 loss and the worst opening day loss in Bengals history. I also realize Dalton is 0-3 in Baltimore and the Bengals are 0-5 against new Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
With all of that stacked against them, this game comes down to one single stat. Say it with me, turnover differential. How important is this stat in reference to Cincinnati and Baltimore? Well, let us look at the numbers. Whichever team wins the turnover battle is 15-1 lifetime against the other. 15-1! That is pretty lopsided and enough historical data to show that whoever is plus in the turnover ratio will win. When the Bengals and Ravens are even in turnovers, the Bengals are 4-2 against them.
With no Ray Rice, Joe Flacco is going to have his work cut out for him. The Ravens offense has traditionally relied on the short passing game to open up more downfield. With continued pressure from the Bengals defense, Flacco should gift wrap at least one or two interceptions. Assuming Andy Dalton doesn’t float the ball into triple coverage, the Bengals have a great shot at winning the turnover battle and ultimately the game.
Aug 7, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) talks to fans after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 41-39. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
A win would put the Bengals atop the AFC North, tied with whoever wins between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. If Baltimore and Pittsburgh lose, the AFC North could get interesting early on because the season’s second Thursday night game is Pittsburgh at Baltimore. Someone has to lose that game and will be down two games in the AFC North.
Football season is upon us and it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Just some things to keep in mind, rarely does a win or loss in September effect the outcome in January, injuries have a lot to do with a team’s success, and the Bengals have a week 4 bye. What does all of this mean? Things could get really interesting in 3 months, but for now just sit back, relax and enjoy.