Don’t forget about the Bengals’ Raven killer, A.J. Green
Many are forgetting just how successful Cincinnati Bengals’ star receiver A.J. Green has been against the Baltimore Ravens in his career.
When it comes to the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens have established themselves as heavy favorites to win the division. After all, they went 14-2 in the 2019 campaign and return the league reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson. That’s enough reason for most to count out the Cincinnati Bengals, who had as many wins as the Ravens did losses a season ago. The one factor that is being overlooked, however, is the return of A.J. Green.
The former fourth overall pick and pillar of the Bengals franchise for the past decade is set to make a triumphant comeback after struggling with injuries for the past two seasons. After missing every game of last year’s lost season, the news coming out of his camp is that he’s fully healthy and ready to be the focal point of Cincinnati’s offense once more.
Green will undoubtedly help the Bengals get back to their competitive ways, and he may just flip the rivalry against the Ravens on its head.
Both of last year’s contests between Cincinnati and Baltimore ended with the Bengals on the short end of the stick. Not to mention, it included a highlight reel for Jackson and company. Looking at recent history though, that outcome is more of the anomaly than the standard.
In fact, since Green traded in his Georgia Bulldog uniform for the orange and black, the two franchises have split their matchups right down the middle, each coming away with nine victories and nine losses.
The majority of those wins were sparked by incredible performances by Green and even some of the losses included the Bengals’ cornerstone player shining. It’s something that Baltimore’s man at the helm has complained about before. After Green torched the Raven’s secondary for 10 catches, 227 yards, and two touchdowns in 2015, John Harbaugh vented his frustration to the media saying,
"“One of these days, we’ll figure out how to cover A.J. Green. It’d be nice if we did it one time before he retires.”"
His praise for Green stretches even further than the above-mentioned instance. He’s referred to Green as “one of the best” in football, something the Queen City certainly agrees with.
Of course, some of the circumstances have changed since Green last suited up against the Ravens. Baltimore has heavily upgraded their secondary, trading for cornerback Marcus Peters and plucking Earl Thomas off the free-agent market.
Cincinnati’s front office has made its own countering moves to improve the situation surrounding their star wideout as well. Reigning Heisman Trophy winner and National Champion Joe Burrow is now tasked with getting the ball to Green and when witnessing his laser accuracy, betting against his ability to do so is a dangerous gamble.
Baltimore will also have their hands’ full covering new-comer Tee Higgins, plus Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, and the other holdovers from previous years.
There’s no doubt about it, the reigning AFC North champions look like absolute juggernauts and coming away with a victory in 2020 will be a tall task for Zac Taylor and company. The Bengals aren’t devoid of hope, however. Now led by Burrow and an army of players donning stripes for the first time, they have a chance to ease the sting left by last year’s embarrassing losses.
If they are able to come away with a victory against their divisional foes next year, don’t be surprised if it’s behind a strong performance from Cincinnati’s very own Raven killer, A.J. Green.