5 match-ups Bengals need to win in Week 2 vs. Ravens

  • Can the Bengals take advantage of an injury-riddled offensive line?
  • How can they slow down the elusive Lamar Jackson?
  • What's the answer against electric rookie Zay Flowers?

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens / Todd Olszewski/GettyImages
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2. Baltimore's blitzing backers vs. Bengals leaky offensive line

Despite investment in the offensive line, familiar problems raised their head along the Bengals front. The group allowed 13 pressures, and Joe Burrow never looked truly comfortable in the pocket. Even the experienced center, Ted Karras, recorded a pass-blocking grade of 37.3.

That will have the Ravens linebacker duo licking their chops. Both Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen were used regularly to blitz the quarterback. They set the tone for this defense, who, despite missing important pieces, continued to fly around the field.

The Bengals will need to protect Burrow from the linebackers coming downhill. They will be buoyed by the fact Trayveon Williams recorded a 78.1 pass-blocking grade on his three true pass-blocking sets. Using tight ends and backs to buy Burrow extra time against the blitz will be imperative.

1. Ravens injury-riddled offensive line vs. Bengals frisky pass rush

The Bengals will have the advantage over the Ravens' offensive line, simply due to how injury-ravaged Baltimore is. Starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum could both miss Sunday's clash. It would leave the Ravens severely undermanned.

In contrast, one of the few bright spots from the loss to the Browns was the Bengals defensive front. Until things got out of hand it was the pass rush that was upsetting Watson's rhythm. Trey Hendrickson and DJ Reader were relentless as usual but it was also encouraging to see how effective Cam Sample was off the bench.


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The Bengals may be fortunate enough to also get edge rusher Joseph Ossai back from injury. If that is the case, this front should feast on the Ravens backups. That pressure could stop Lamar Jackson in his tracks and edge this one for the home side.