1:00 ET @ Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a huge win after a bye over the then undefeated Denver Broncos. With the win, they redeemed themselves in many aspects. They finally got their win over a team with a better record after three straight failing attempts against the Patriots, Bengals, and Vikings. Their secondary was able to shut down the superstar Brandon Marshall while kicker Steven Hauschka booted three field goals in the 30-7 rout.
The Bengals surprise this year as they are currently in first place in the AFC North with a 5-2 record. They hold wins over the Packers, Steelers, and, of course, the Ravens. However, the Bengals find themselves in the middle ranks with their offense at 13th in Y/G and their defense at 21st in the same category.
These two teams have faced off once already this season with the results being upsetting for I and the other Raven fans. The Bengals won 17-14 on week 5 in Baltimore. The Ravens had the game won up until the final drive when the defense fell apart with uncalled for penalties and the Bengals marched down field without much effort. Cedric Benson ran all over the defense as he became the first player in nearly 50 games to rush for over 100 yards. He turned on the jets for 120.
Cedric Benson vs. the Defense
As mention before, Benson tore apart the Ravens usually solid run defense for 120 yards. He man handled everyone in his way and made the Purple Bird's run stop look like just another defense.
Benson is on track for another big game this time around as well. Two weeks ago against the Bears, Benson rumbled for 189 yards on 37 carries.
However, the Baltimore defense has maintained their role as a great run stop team as they rank 4th in the NFL behind only the Steelers, 49ers, and Broncos.
Knowing the mentality of this defense, Ray Lewis and company would love to keep Benson to around 30 yards this game. They would also loved to injure him early. Nothing personal, of course, just business ... smash mouth business.
But one issue may be the fact that Haloti Ngata is questionable with an ankle injury. He is needed to take up a bunch of space on the front line. But without, the Ravens are just as good.
Chad Johnson & Chris Henry vs. Fabian Washington & Domonique Foxworth
In week 5, Johnson and Henry combined for 10 catches and 186 yards in the victory. Talk about allowing the deep ball. That is an average of 18.6 yards per catch for you people who can't do the math.
Johnson has made some enemies on the Ravens defense as he has constantly poked the stick at them. This passed week, he sent the Ravens' secondary, Ray Lewis, and Terrell Suggs gift baskets that included deodorant. Nice one Chad? You got hammered by Ray Lewis at the end of last game, I would fully expect it again... from every single player on defense.
Washington and Foxworth will most likely get help over the top from Ed Reed and Dawan Landry but it all depends on Carson Palmer to make the right passes. He was picked off by Ed Reed easily in the Week 5 game after a poor decision.
Players to Watch:
Derrick Mason - Wide Receiver - Baltimore Ravens
In week 5, the Bengals held Derrick Mason to zero catches. Thats a nice job by the Bengals to hold a guy, who perennially catches 80+ passes a season, to zero in a game.
As Flacco's favorite target, it is very vital for Derrick Mason to do all he can to get open.
This sounds pretty easy because:
A - He is Derrick Mason
B - The Bengal's pass defense is actually worse than the Ravens'. The Bengals are 30th in the NFL with allowing 253 passing yards per game. That is worse than the Lions, Rams, and Browns.
Even if he doesn't catch many passes, he is a compliment to the other receivers. He opens up the field for Clayton and Washington while pulling attention away from the short passes to Rice.
This isn't as much of the referees as of the Ravens watching themselves. They lost the game in week 5 because of stupidity that lead to penalties. They handed the Bengals the win with a bow on it.
The Ravens committed 10 penalties for 76 yards in the Week 5 loss.
They have been known to rack up penalties, especially late in games that kill them.
I feel repetitive, but championship teams do not make these silly penalties.
Carson Palmer - Quarterback - Cincinnati Bengals
I made a mention of this earlier, but, Palmer needs to make wise decisions this Sunday against Baltimore. The Ravens have a weak secondary as many have seen. He could easily pick them apart. He did a bit last time the two teams faced with Johnson and Henry. However, there could have been much more. He handed the ball off to Benson 27 times giving him less opportunities to pass. However, he did pass when they needed to march down the field in the 4th and was bailed out with the penalties of Baltimore.
The Ravens will look to bring safety help on Henry and Johnson. All Palmer will need to do is read the defense properly.
Okay, okay. Give me flack again. The Bengals barely escaped the Ravens last time in Baltimore and got lucky with the Ravens' misfortunes. They won on the feet of Cedric Benson for the majority. If we know anything about the Baltimore defense its that they are great at making adjustments. They will refuse to let Benson have a big game this time around and force Palmer to pass more often. On offense, Ray Rice goes big again with his receiving and rushing. However, the big game comes from Kelley Washington who tears apart the weak passing defense of the Bengals.
Ravens will win 27-17.