Week 1: Baltimore Ravens Vs. Cincinnati Bengals

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
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.
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.
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.


  1. Mike Vick #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Philip Rivers  of the San Diego Chargers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At San Diego Chargers

    The high-powered Pittsburgh offense was a bit out of sync against the Ravens in Week Four without Ben Roethlisberger, but it seemed like Mike Vick was pretty close to finding success.

  2. Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Giants quarterback Eli Manning. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At New York Giants

    Colin Kaepernick is under extreme pressure to produce at a high level. That has not been happening, and the 49ers are in danger of seeing their season fall apart.

  3. Peyton Manning (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 30: Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders passes against the St. Louis Rams in the second quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on November 30, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Raiders 52-0.
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: Denver Broncos At Oakland Raiders

    Peyton Manning appears to have come to terms with the deficiencies in his game at this point. He can no longer whistle the ball downfield at the last minute, and some medium-range passes are difficult as well.

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