By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens are taking a nosedive in the AFC North standings as they head into Week 10 of the NFL season. The Cincinnati Bengals would love nothing more than to end the Ravens playoff hopes early and take full control of the division. They’ll have an arsenal of weapons to choose from to accomplish their goals.
Bengals on Offense
The Bengals could have the most loaded roster in the NFL. On the offensive side of the ball, Cincinnati relies on the 1-2 punch of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. The Ravens struggled to stop Jason Campbell and Josh Gordon last week. That should tell you how bad this game can get if the Ravens defense can’t get things together. Green has the ability to beat double teams with his size alone. His speed and playmaking ability make it almost impossible to cover him one on one. Andy Dalton has played very well so far this season. But the litmus test for this Bengals team will be the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. Though both teams have struggled this season, the Bengals need to prove they can get past both squads to help build confidence as the season begins to unravel.
Expect the Bengals to keep the Ravens defense honest with a consistent running game. But the game plan will be to throw the ball against a Ravens defense that has struggled to wrap up the ball carrier. If the Ravens can get on the same page, it’ll force Cincinnati to make some adjustments. The last thing the Ravens want is for the Bengals to move the ball down the field on a consistent basis.
Bengals on Defense
Cincinnati lost Geno Atkins for the season with a torn ACL and with that a vital part of their defensive front. Atkins has dominated opposing offenses at the line of scrimmage for almost two years now. With the way the Ravens have struggled protecting the QB, the young defensive lineman would have had his way with Baltimore. Whether the Ravens can take advantage of the loss remains to be seen. The AFC North boasts some of the best defensive fronts in all of football. Even with the loss of Atkins, the Bengals still have talent to spare. If Baltimore can figure out some way to block the Bengals linebackers from getting after the ball carrier, they may pull off the upset. But based on past performances, that appears to be a long shot.
Marvin Lewis is the coach for the Cincinnati Bengals and was a former defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens when they won their first Super Bowl in 2001. Lewis won’t deviate from what has worked for the Ravens previous opposing coaches. He’ll send pressure and force the Ravens to stop the Bengals pass rush. The Ravens currently lead the all-time series 19-15.
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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. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.