By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens will match up against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Here’s the scouting report:
Cincinnati Bengals’ record (9-6-0): 2nd place in AFC North
The Ravens will play to win against the Bengals. Marvin Lewis has stated that they will take the same approach. That will mean getting the ball to their Pro Bowl WR A.J. Green a majority of the time. Against the Steelers, Green caught 10 balls for 116 yards. He’ll be looking to have similar success against a defense that has struggled at times to defend the past. This will be a great test for Baltimore as the secondary is a very young unit. Baltimore will face many great wide receivers in the postseason and will have their hands full on Sunday against Green.
The Ravens have recently shored up their run defense and will look to improve when they line up against Benjarvus Green-Ellis. He’s racked up over 1,000 yards for the Bengals and has six rushing touchdowns. He may not be the most dynamic player in the NFL, but he can cause problems for any defense if given the opportunity. Baltimore will need to watch for him as Cincinnati will do their best to keep the defense honest.
The Bengals are in the postseason because they are one of the best pass rushing teams in the NFL. They’re second in the league in sacks (47) with Geno Atkins leading the way with 11.5. The Ravens’ offense turned a corner against the Giants because they were able to keep Flacco upright. They’ll try to duplicate their performance against a defensive unit that can attack you from a multitude of positions. Look for Baltimore to keep the Bengals honest with a large amount of run plays and screen passes. The Ravens have learned the hard way that keeping Ray Rice out of the game plan usually results in a loss.
Rice had over 191 yards rushing against Cincinnati last season and will look to duplicate his performance on Sunday. If he does, the Ravens will probably walk away with the victory. If he can’t, Baltimore will rely on Flacco to get the job done. Prior to the Week One meeting between these two teams, Flacco has struggled against Cincinnati. The Bengals will attempt to play tight coverage against Baltimore’s receivers in order to force Flacco into making a mistake.
Marvin Lewis put his stamp on Cincinnati on the defensive side of the ball. Against the Ravens, he’ll most likely play the Tampa-2 defense in order to force Flacco to make tough throws. Joe struggled against that defense in the early portions of his career but has since overcome the challenges associated with that scheme. Marvin Lewis has had success against Baltimore since becoming the Bengals head coach in 2003. His record against Baltimore is 10-9. The Bengals have not defeated the Ravens since 2010 and hold a 4 game losing streak. Baltimore owns the All-Time record against Cincinnati 19-14.
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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.