Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens

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The Cincinnati Bengals are calling Sunday’s sport at Baltimore a possible “make or break” scenario.
Coming off one in all their worst losses in franchise historical past, the Bengals (5-Four) want to flip issues round earlier than they fall out of AFC playoff competition. They at present stay in place to earn the sixth seed, whereas the Ravens (Four-5) try to climb again into the image.

Cincinnati has misplaced three of its final 4, and head coach Marvin Lewis tried to shake issues up this week when he fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and assumed duty for the protection, which has been the worst within the league in yards allowed (454.6) and second worst in factors allowed (32.Zero).
In the meantime, the Ravens have the alternative drawback with among the finest defenses within the league however a flailing offense additionally coping with a possible change at quarterback as a result of harm.
Listed below are 5 issues to observe in Sunday’s matchup:
1. Lewis’ affect on the protection
Lewis mentioned he made the coordinator change to “shock” his gamers, so Sunday is the primary likelihood to see simply how effectively he bought their consideration.
He appeared assured in press conferences and in follow this week, saying, “I’ve bought this,” on a number of events when requested about how he'll handle overseeing the workforce and operating the protection. It helps to have some additional eyes on the sideline, he mentioned, with the hiring of Hue Jackson as his particular assistant.

Jackson hoped to supply some perception into how the Ravens’ offense may assault Sunday.
The Ravens don’t have as explosive of an offense because the Bengals have seen in latest weeks, however they nonetheless rank 15th in whole yards (366.6 per sport) and 17th in factors (23.7) and Cincinnati is permitting far more than that.
If you happen to’ve bought 11 guys doing their project, it doesn’t matter in the event that they run zone learn, a Hail Mary, a pressured unsuitable go to the again aspect — it doesn’t matter,” security Shawn Williams mentioned. “Guidelines and assignments care for the whole lot. .. I simply assume our focus is getting off the sector on third downs, creating extra turnovers and tackling extra. In order that’s what you possibly can count on us to exit and do.”
2. Sparking the offense
The Bengals offense had one good drive final week earlier than shutting down within the 51-14 loss to New Orleans, and A.J. Inexperienced stays unlikely to return this week. He was initially designated “out” however upgraded to “uncertain” on Friday, so there's nonetheless an opportunity he might play however he hasn’t practiced since earlier than the bye when his toe swelled up.
Cincinnati additionally gave followers a little bit of a scare Thursday when Joe Mixon landed on the harm report as a restricted participant in follow due to a knee ailment, however he was again to full participation Friday and seems good to go. The Bengals solely gave him 13 carries final week, and he’ll must get extra concerned for the offense to get again on observe towards a prime 2 protection.
The Ravens enable simply 305.Zero yards per sport and 17.eight factors, and they're particularly sturdy towards the go, permitting simply 205.2 yards by way of the air. They bought away from their standard blitz-heavy packages the primary assembly with the Bengals, a 34-23 win for Cincinnati, however quarterback Andy Dalton nonetheless expects heavy stress.
“That’s what they're,” Dalton mentioned. “They've so many alternative methods of doing it. It’s like everyone else, you get within the move of the sport and see what’s working. Final time, we have been in a position to hit some large performs once they did blitz, which took them out of it for a short while. That’s nonetheless the character of their protection and what they do.”
three. Key stat to observe
This sport virtually all the time appears to come back all the way down to the wire, as 12 of the workforce’s final 17 conferences have been determined by eight factors or much less.
There may be one stat that persistently jumps out as a difference-maker on this collection — turnover margin.
In 23 conferences throughout Lewis’ tenure wherein the turnover differential has not been even, the workforce who wins the turnover battle has posted a 21-2 file. The Bengals are 11-Zero towards the Ravens with a plus turnover differential and 2-10 with a minus. Earlier this season, the Bengals beat the Ravens whereas posting a plus-three margin.
The margin was even final 12 months at Baltimore when Dalton threw a 49-yard landing go to Tyler Boyd within the closing seconds to present Cincinnati the win.
Baltimore usually has been a powerful takeaway workforce, however is minus-Four in turnover margin (rating 23rd). Cincinnati is plus-2 and ranks 13th.
Four. One other harm on protection
Cincinnati is so banged up on protection that the workforce lastly determined to maneuver tight finish Tyler Kroft to the Reserve/Injured listing Friday to make room for linebacker Brandon Bell, signed off the follow squad.
The Bengals may very well be with out all three of their beginning linebackers Sunday. Preston Brown is the newest loss to the sidelines, as he injured his knee final week towards the Saints and continued taking part in on it. He didn't follow all week and is out, Nick Vigil remains to be out together with his knee harm and Vontaze Burfict is questionable as he solely practiced in restricted vogue all week.
Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick started the week in concussion protocol and is listed as questionable, regardless of full participation Friday, however the excellent news is nickel nook Darqueze Dennard resumed follow this week and is possible to play.
5. Ravens quarterback scenario
It’s unclear who will likely be beginning at quarterback for Baltimore, and the three choices are all very several types of gamers. Coach John Harbaugh insists that Joe Flacco might nonetheless play regardless of not practising all week due to a hip harm within the Nov. Four sport towards the Steelers, however he’s listed as uncertain and it appeared all week it will be extra doubtless rookie Lamar Jackson will get his first NFL begin.
Nonetheless, on Thursday, Jackson was despatched to the hospital with stomach pains, which was supposedly precautionary however nonetheless alarming. That might depart the Ravens with Robert Griffin III getting his first motion since 2016 when he performed 5 video games for the Browns.
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