With the Cincinnati Bengals now getting into the nitty-gritty of the NFL season, I cannot remember the last season in which most games being played have playoff implications. Looking at the entire week 16 schedule 11 of the 16 games both teams are playing for playoffs or seeding.
Bucs/Panthers, Chargers/Texans, Falcons/Lions, and Seahawks/Bears are a few games that are not “important” unless someone is talking about the draft. It’s a seriously competitive year. Now with COVID-19 rearing its head again, things are only becoming complicated.
Even more specific to the competitiveness is the season is the AFC North. When was the last season everyone in a division was above .500 this late in the year? Every game for these four teams is important.
Needless to say, any game between two division teams is extremely important. If the Bengals win Sunday they will have swept the Baltimore Ravens and be a game up, really 1.5 games up with the season sweep. Unfortunately for the Ravens, the COVID bug is taking their players down one-by-one, five more players were placed on the Covid-19 list on Wednesday, per the Ravens’ official website.
Joe Burrow’s theory as to how the stripes have kept Covid at bay in the Cincy roster isn’t the most popular opinion but that’s a story for another day. With everything going on it really is Any Given Sunday.
Let’s see who the experts are taking.
Here is who the experts are going with for Bengals-Ravens.
- Ben Rolfe (Pro Football Network) – Bengals 27, Ravens 21
- John Breech (CBS Sports) – Bengals 30, Ravens 23
- Bill Bender (Sporting News) – Bengals 29, Ravens 27
Honestly, I’m surprised that everyone is picking the good guys this Sunday. I know they destroyed the Ravens in week 7 and the Ravens are plagued with COVID and injuries, but with the Bengals’ inconsistencies, I can see the Ravens still pulling this one out.
Ben Rolfe is attributing the injuries to the Ravens and the question mark at quarterback as to why the Bengals should pull it out.
"Baltimore’s offense has also been head-scratching. Furthermore, we don’t know who will be playing QB. Tyler Huntley has put up a spirited performance for them as a replacement, but can he do it against the Bengals? With all of the Ravens’ injuries, especially on defense, the Bengals should win. Still, this game could come with plenty of twists and turns."
Tyler Huntley went toe-to-toe with the Packers, so there’s not much difference between him and Jackson in way of preparation.
John Breech also thinks the injuries/covid issues with the Ravens is why the Bengals will win on Sunday:
"In the first meeting, Joe Burrow threw for more than 400 yards and he did that even though the Ravens had their star cornerback, Marlon Humphrey, on the field. This time around, they won’t have Humphrey and they could also be missing several other key starters, which makes it tough to imagine a situation where they slow down the Bengals offense."
Bill Bender essentially says the same thing.
"The Ravens have won the last two at Paul Brown Stadium in blowout fashion, but Lamar Jackson (ankle) still is questionable. Tyler Huntley filled in well the last two weeks, but a beat-up secondary against Joe Burrow is not ideal. The Bengals win a close one this time"
We shall see. If the Bengals do not start out slow and give the Ravens no sign of life then they win. But they have to start fast and never let off the gas.
Who do you think wins?