The Baltimore Ravens prepare to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football. The Ravens are very familiar with their division foes, and therefore know who the majority of their attention will be on Monday.
“I think A.J. Green is a special talent,” said Bernard Pollard earlier this week. “He is a really special talent. The guy can go down the field; he can go across the middle. But, when he goes across the middle, he has to see us. And that’s not taking anything away from him, but this is what we live for. When we see receivers come across the middle, if we are in the right defense, we are going to smack you, and we are going to let you know that you came across the middle on the wrong team.”
The gameplan for the Ravens will be to contain A.J. Green. The second year wide receiver didn’t pose much of a threat for Baltimore in 2011. They only met him once; and that game was held to two catches for 26 yards. Still, that hasn’t stopped Harbaugh from dubbing Green “maybe the best receiver in football.” And though you can chalk that statement to purely coach talk during a press conference, the fact remains A.J. Green is quite impressive.
In his rookie year, Green amassed 1,057 yards from 65 catches and 7 touchdowns. The Ravens are more concerned with his league leading 11 catches of 35 yards or more last season. With the way the secondary has played this preseason, the team can ill afford to let Green catch fire in this game.
Pitta and Dickson appear to be Game-Time decisions
If the Ravens are forced to get into a shootout with the Bengals, they may be without two of their big targets in Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson. Both tight ends appear to be game time decisions as both continue to deal with injuries suffered during the preseason. Pitta (shoulder) and Dickson (hand) have both returned to practice but are taking things slow in the early goings.
“We just prepare ourselves each day and we hope to play,” Pitta said.
The Ravens, much like the Patriots, rely on a two tight end set in order to create mismatch problems down the field. Baltimore will be extremely limited in their approach in this ball game if neither player is able to play. Billy Bajema is the only other tight end on the active roster.
Upshaw and should be ready for Monday
Courtney Upshaw re-injured his shoulder against the St. Louis Rams and fears that he would be unavailable for the game against Cincinnati began to surface. It appears that those fears can be put to rest. Upshaw informed reporters that he expects to play against the Bengals. The Ravens will need him as the team has showed little to no ability to generate a pass rush. And though Upshaw hasn’t shown much as a pass rusher either, the team can only get better with him in the lineup.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.