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MrCincinnati

Week 1 Ravens @ Bengals

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Preseason is over, which means now the real fun begins. A new season means a clean slate, and everything that happened last year is officially off the books. There’s crazy talent with this team, but some questions marks in one or two areas are what will define this season.

The first test is a Ravens team that has suffered from countless injuries the past few years now, but still have managed to be competitive in most of their games.

HISTORY LESSON

The Bengals are 14-7 against the Ravens when playing in Cincinnati
The Bengals have won 5 straight games against the Ravens in Cincinnati
Last matchup – Last season Bengals won 27-10 in Cincinnati
Last Ravens win – Last season Ravens won 19-14 in Baltimore
Last Ravens win in Cincinnati – 2011 season Ravens won 24-16

GAMEDAY INFO

Game time will be this Sunday 1 PM ET on CBS

The TV Maps will be posted on this link on Wednesday:
http://506sports.com/nfl.php?yr=2017&wk=1

5 KEYS TO VICTORY

5. Winning the Penalty Battle - I never realized this, but the Bengals were actually one of the best teams last year when it came to not getting penalties. It’s a shock considering they missed the playoffs, while a team like the Raiders who lead the league in Penalties still made the playoffs. It’s not always going to mean the team with the least penalties will win, but it’s always a factor in games now today. Dre Kirkpatrick lead the team last year in Penalties with 9 though. At least they don’t have to worry about Burfict and Jones getting penalties though.

4. Run the Ball Efficiently – The Bengals historically have never been very good when it comes to running the football against the Ravens. While Rex  Burkhead had an outstanding against the Ravens last year, he is no longer with the team now. Jeremy Hill nor Giovani Bernard haven’t had much luck against the Ravens running defense either. The plan is to hope that Joe Mixon will be the solution to this problem, as the Bengals are expecting him to be the #1 RB in the future. Only problem is, will he get any actual playing time this when he’s already behind Hill and Bernard?

3. Second Half Offense – Last year the Bengals were near the bottom when it came to scoring points in the second half. It was even worse when it came to the 4th qrt, as they were the second worst only ahead of the Browns. It may not seem like a big deal at first, especially if they jump out to a big lead early in the first half. If you leave any team hang around in a close game though and can’t score any points in the second half, it’s a momentum changer and that costs them in a few games last year. A big reason behind this problem was because they would always settle for less when they got in the redzone.

2. Zampese being Smart – I always had questions about Ken Zampese’s decisions in every game and this one will be no different. The Ravens defense is very good in both the passing and running defense, so it’s going to be hard to exploit a weakness against this team. There’s always one player who can have a good game anyday, so if they find a crack in the armor, Zampese needs to exploit that as much as possible. Whether is AJ Green, Tyler Eifert, or even someone like Brandon Lafell, whoever it is that decides to play a good game, they must ride the hot hand on who ends up playing a good game. Do whatever works, don’t force something that’s not working against a very good Ravens defense.

1. The New Offensive Line Look – The elephant in the room, the biggest question mark all offseason and all preseason. The season rides behind the five guys who must block. It’s no secret this group was bad last year and could look even worse with the loss of two good players. But while watching the preseason, it appears these guys may be better than expected. While they are questions about Bodine still at C, as well as Hopkins starting at RG who’s never started an NFL game yet, the biggest question I have is there OT’s. Ogbuehi slowly got better in the preseason and Fisher also has played surprisingly well in the preseason. Both guys were awful last year though, and both of these guys are going to tell the whole story on if this OL will sink or swim.

PREDICTION

You probably noticed that in almost all of my keys to victory, I mentioned only the Bengals offense and barely even talked about the Defense. Well the fact of the matter is, I’m neither worried nor scared of the Ravens offense at all. Flacco will most likely show some rust since he didn’t play at all in the preseason, and Danny Woodhead is also coming off an injury. I’m only concerned about this offense being able to actually score more points and not turn the ball over too much in their own territory, which would give the Ravens offense a chance to score. They don’t have to score a bunch of points to win this game, just get in the 20’s and win the time of possession and they should be able to win this game by a moderate margin.

Ravens 13 Bengals 26

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1 hour ago, MrCincinnati said:

The plan is to hope that Joe Mixon will be the solution to this problem, as the Bengals are expecting him to be the #1 RB in the future. Only problem is, will he get any actual playing time this when he’s already behind Hill and Bernard?

I'm not too worried about that.  While they'll do the typical Bengals thing of giving Hill the first carry, i don't expect them to go with him very long if he's managing his usual 3.5 YPC.  If he stays in the game, it's because he's actually doing decent.

I predict the touch count will be something like:

Hill: 8
Gio: 10
Mixon: 12

1 hour ago, MrCincinnati said:

You probably noticed that in almost all of my keys to victory, I mentioned only the Bengals offense and barely even talked about the Defense. Well the fact of the matter is, I’m neither worried nor scared of the Ravens offense at all. Flacco will most likely show some rust since he didn’t play at all in the preseason, and Danny Woodhead is also coming off an injury. I’m only concerned about this offense being able to actually score more points and not turn the ball over too much in their own territory, which would give the Ravens offense a chance to score. They don’t have to score a bunch of points to win this game, just get in the 20’s and win the time of possession and they should be able to win this game by a moderate margin.

I'm not too worried about their offense either.  They were bad last year, and look like they're going to be worse this year without Steve Smith.  They throw the ball a lot, and that'll play well into the Bengals new found strength of rushing the passer.  I'm hoping to see Joe on the ground about 5 times.

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Random predictions for the game:

  • Score: 20-16, Bengals with the W
  • Dalton throws 2 INTs.  One on a forced pass to AJ Green; the other when Brent Urban tips his pass and Mosley intercepts it (I'm going all in on the specifics).
  • Bodine gives up 2 sacks
  • Ogbuehi gives up 2 sacks, 1 holding penalty and 1 false start
  • Bengals running game averages less than 3.2 YPC
  • AJ Green goes for 140+ yards and at least 1 TD
  • Maxx Williams goes off on us, 80+ yards and a TD.
  • Geno will have the most sacks.
  • Erikson will be the most impressive non-defensive player for us not-named AJ Green.
  • Brent Urban will have a coming out party against us
  • And finally there will be a missed FG in this game...but from Justin Tucker!!!

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Until the Burfict crap, I expected this to be rather lopsided.  Flacco hasn't practiced for a month, their running game is a mess, and with new receivers, the timing might not be down yet.  Even with Dalton healthy, look how long it took for Andy to get into sync with LaFell and Boyd last year.  

Their defense is stout.  No question.  But after what Burkhead did in the last game of the season against them (it seems rather off to have two straight regular season games at the same site with the same opponent), I would expect Mixon to get chances early and often.

 

We might give up five sacks, but on the plays the line holds up, we could move the ball in small chunks, then AJ hits a couple of big plays.

 

In the end  ravens 256-0.  I'm going back to it;)

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1 hour ago, INbengalfan said:

Until the Burfict crap, I expected this to be rather lopsided.  Flacco hasn't practiced for a month, their running game is a mess, and with new receivers, the timing might not be down yet.  Even with Dalton healthy, look how long it took for Andy to get into sync with LaFell and Boyd last year.  

 

Didn't LaFell have 100 yards receiving his first game last year?

WRONG - 91.  Still, he did pretty good.  Your point stands though - i don't expect that Ravens passing game to come out firing on all cylinders.

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10 hours ago, TheVillain112 said:
  • Brent Urban will have a coming out party against us
  •  

Not going to lie, i had to look up that name.  He has 3 sacks in his career, and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he had 3 this Sunday.

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I'm still not convinced our red zone issues that have been ongoing have been solved. Ravens defense always gives us fits. 

That said I still expect a win in a squeaker of sorts. 

CIN- 16

BAL- 13

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29 minutes ago, theJ said:

Not going to lie, i had to look up that name.  He has 3 sacks in his career, and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he had 3 this Sunday.

Injuries has limited him thus far in his NFL career. He's been looking good this preseason though...

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31 minutes ago, theJ said:

Just waiting for sunday...

It can't get here soon enough. It will be interesting this year as my daughter is 2.5 and my wife works sundays. Not sure I am confident I will watch football as uninterrupted as I did last year. 

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2 hours ago, ochocinco4pres said:

It can't get here soon enough. It will be interesting this year as my daughter is 2.5 and my wife works sundays. Not sure I am confident I will watch football as uninterrupted as I did last year. 

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Mr. C, thanks for doing this preview every week.  I always look forward to reading your insights.  The map link is especially helpful in planning my Sunday afternoon.  Looks like I'm spending the day in a bar, no local coverage.

As usual, you nailed it.  Point 3 was especially frustrating last year and has a direct correlation to our friend Zampese.  Without proper adjustments, the offense becomes even more predictable.  I didn't detect the same problem with the defense last year.

 

Comes down to rushing and OL.

Bengals 17-10.

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