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TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 1: Baltimore Ravens Vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Ravens
Bengals
AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Quarterback
Winner Joe Flacco rarely gets categorized with the top quarterbacks in the game, but what he lacks in notoriety he makes up for in guts. Flacco has a plus arm, is usually at his best in big games and his teammates believe in him.
Andy Dalton developed into one of the league’s most surprising up-and-coming players last year. Look for more improvement from Dalton because he sees the field well, makes good decisions and he takes care of the ball.
Offense
Winner Few NFL teams can get the explosive plays out of their running game that the Ravens get with speedy Ray Rice. Anquan Boldin is a tough guy who will make plays, and Torrey Smith will not drop the ball.
The most exciting player on the offensive side of the ball is wide receiver A.J. Green. Look for hard-working BenJarvus Green-Ellis to take advantage of a solid offensive line and give the Bengals a credible ground game.
Defense
Winner The Ravens won't have Terrell Suggs to rush the passer for a while, but they still have Ray Lewis to run the show. Yes, he has slowed down but he’s still a leader. Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard are a joy to behold.
Mike Zimmer has done an excellent job turning the Bengal defense into a fast-moving and hard-hitting bunch. The Bengals ranked fourth in yards allowed per play last season. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins destroys the interior run.
Special Teams
Billy Cundiff paid the price for missing the game-tying field goal in the AFC Championship game when he was cut in training camp. (Later signed by Washington.) Rookie Justin Tucker of Texas takes over and he has a big leg for kickoffs.
Winner The Bengals like Mike Nugent at placekicker. He returned from ACL surgery to make 33-of-38 field goals last season. Kevin Huber is an above average punter who has good directional skills.

The Winner Is

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
Winner Ravens
3 out of 4

The Bengals usually struggle when expectations are anything but a losing season. Andy Dalton must pick up from where he left off and Marvin Lewis must shepherd the team along. The Ravens are perennial contenders and last year’s painful AFC Championship game loss to New England may spur them this season. Baltimore controls the season opener.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with teammate quarterback Joe Flacco #5 after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to throw a pass during the second half against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

    The Ravens and Patriots meet again in Gillette in what should be another great game.

  2. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 1:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys hands the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott #21in the first half of the game agains the Minnesota Vikings on December 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back to pass in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

    The NFC East rivals meet again in the Meadowlands as the Cowboys look to avenge their only loss of the year.

  3. SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes during warmups before a game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field on December 4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 04:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is pressured by Christian Covington #95 of the Houston Texans during the first half of a game at Lambeau Field on December 4, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

    The Seahawks travel to Lambeau for a match-up with the resurgent Pack.

See All Tales of the Tape

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