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KEYS TO VICTORY
Turnovers. As I mentioned on this week’s podcast, I think the Bengals will win if they don’t turn the ball over. In the last game vs. Baltimore, Andy Dalton threw 3 costly interceptions which led directly to 14 points for the Ravens. Makes losing by 7 that much tougher to swallow when you give the ball away like he did.
Stop Ray Rice! If they can control Ravens RB Ray Rice they will put Baltimore’s offense squarely on Joe Flacco’s shoulders. Flacco has not fared well at PBS and Mike Zimmer has his number it seems. Look for the Bengals to pressure him and rattle his cage.
Pound The Rock! Cedric Benson needs to come up with his biggest game of the year on Sunday. More importantly, he needs to hold onto the football. The 2 fumbles late in the game on Saturday nearly cost the Bengals a trip to the postseason. Benson needs to hold on tight as he’s running through this ball hawking Ravens defense.
Protect the Red Rifle. Despite his 3 picks in the early matchup against the Ravens, Andy Dalton nearly pulled off the comeback. The protection from the offensive line failed him though on their final 4 downs as Dalton had no chance to get passes off against that vaunted Ravens defense. However, the line won’t have to deal with crowd noise this week. They will need to do better in the run game though to help protect Dalton back there.
Wrap Up! The Bengals have done a great job this year on defense. If they have a chance to wrap up Ray Rice in the backfield, you CANNOT MISS! Too many times Rice burns defenses on broken plays, screens, swing passes etc. If you have him dead to rights in the backfield, make them pay!
Be Aggressive. The Bengals have squandered large 2nd half leads in their past 2 home games, fortunately Early Doucet was tripped up by the turf monster. Jay Gruden, if for some reason you find yourself up by 14 or more points at halftime, don’t take the air out of the ball BE AGGRESSIVE and take shots downfield! The Bengals have scored only 3 points in the 2nd half in each of their previous two home games. You can not expect to win this game on Sunday by only scoring 3 second half points.
Looking back at the last matchup the Bengals outgained the Ravens by 110 yards, they had 10 more first downs (23) than the Ravens (13) and had the ball for 5 more minutes. Take away the 3 INT’s, and an official who doesn’t overturn a crucial TD catch by Gresham and the Bengals win that game. The Ravens are 3-4 this year on the road with losses at Seattle, Jacksonville and Tennessee (all teams the Bengals have beaten on the road I might add). That’s why I have them winning this Sunday so pack your bags Bengals fans, we’re headed to Houston!!!
Final Score: Bengals 21 Ravens 10