Bengals must avoid slow start against the Ravens in Week 7
The somewhat surprising Cincinnati Bengals face the Baltimore Ravens with the AFC North lead on the line Sunday. To pull off a road upset, the Bengals must conquer something that has been an issue for their offense all year long.
Cincinnati has been shut out in the first half by the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears. The Bengals also put up just 10 first-half points against winless Detroit last week. In fact, Zac Taylor’s offense is averaging just nine first-half points per game in 2021.
The good news is Cincinnati’s defense has played well all season long. Additionally, the offense has woken up enough later in games to allow the team to still have a 4-2 record.
Now, for the potentially bad news.
The Bengals opponent this week is a different animal
The Ravens have just one loss on the year and are playing as well as any team in football right now, particularly on offense. They have put up 62 total points in their last seven and a half quarters of football. Lamar Jackson is the fastest and most athletic player on the field in any game he plays.
The Cincinnati defense is only allowing just over 18 points per game this year. Despite how well that unit has played, the above paragraph means the Ravens’ offense will still get their shots in on Sunday. All any defense can hope to do against them is slow them down.
The bottom line is this. It is one thing for an offense to lollygag around for a half and then still do enough to beat a team like Jacksonville. Being forced to do that against a team like the Ravens is nearly impossible.
The Bengals have the talent to score from start to finish
Joe Burrow has a passer rating of 113.8 this year. Joe Mixon is still just 25-years-old and has two seasons of 1,100+ rushing yards to his name. Rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was the Rookie of the Month in September.
With just those pieces alone, there is no reason for this offense to start as slow as they have. All the pieces are there.
However, if the Bengals don’t have at least two first-half drives that end in points on Sunday, they will get run out of the stadium.