Time for the Bengals to put up or shut up vs. Ravens in Week 7

Leigh Oleszczak
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals are 4-2 through six games and while the record is an indication that this team has improved, not everyone is buying into Zac Taylor‘s squad.

That could be as a result of the schedule Cincinnati has faced to this point and if we’re being entirely honest, no one can blame people for pointing that out. In the Bengals’ defense, however, they can only play who’s on their schedule and the NFL schedule-makers decided to give them an easy first half of the season.

Well, we’re through the “easy” portion of the schedule, and now comes the meatier portion of the schedule, which kicks off this weekend against the 5-1 Baltimore Ravens, who are the only AFC team with a better record than the Bengals. The Ravens are currently favored by 6.5 points.

To put it bluntly, the Bengals have stunk it up against Baltimore in recent years. Ever since Lamar Jackson has joined the Ravens, Cincinnati has gotten their butts kicked by the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, who is on his way to having another MVP-esque season in Baltimore.

Jackson has yet to lose to the Bengals in his career, going a perfect 5-0 against the stripes. Not only that, but he’s made them look terrible in the process with his best outing coming in Week 6 of 2019. That game saw Jackson dash for 152 yards and a touchdown on the ground while passing for 236 yards. The Ravens won 23-17 but it didn’t feel like a close game at all.

That 2019 season was when the Bengals only won two games but even those teams managed to keep games against Baltimore close. That was not the case last year, as the good guys were outscored 65-6 in their two matchups against the Ravens in 2020. In those two games, Jackson combined for 293 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, and two interceptions while rushing for 100 yards (97 yards in one game).

If the Bengals want to be taken seriously, they have to be competitive against the Ravens.

If the season ended today, the Cincinnati Bengals would be a playoff team. There’s still a long season to go but for the most part, the Bengals have looked the part of a playoff team, as their defense has been feasting and the offense — despite slow starts — has been putting up points.

The key in this game is going to be slowing Jackson down, which other teams haven’t been able to do this year. The Bengals’ run defense has been hit or miss this season but if they can contain Jackson and the offense is able to score points and keep this game close, people will absolutely start believing that this Bengals team is different.

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Winning this game would obviously be huge but simply being competitive and keeping the Ravens on their toes throughout would go a long way in showing that this team is on the right track.