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Last week's week 10 kicked off with a good game with two of the worst teams in the NFL. This week, the league's best and most competitive division will have two teams squaring off for a key top in the AFC North. The desperate, but dangerous Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) are going on the road to take on a Baltimore Ravens (7-3) that is looking to play rough after last week's loss.
After a rough 1-3 start to the 2023 NFL Season, the Bengals got healthier with the injured quarterback Joe Burrow and became a high-power offense and a reliable defense. The Bengals defeated the Arizona Cardinals on the road followed by three legitimate playoff contenders in the Seattle Seahawks, at the San Francisco 49ers, and the Buffalo Bills. Their winning streak fell apart last week when Burrow was outdueled by rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and lost at home to the Houston Texans last weekend.
The Ravens have been one of the most consistent teams in the NFL as they have elite solid win streaks. They have elite play from their offense and defense. The Ravens entered week 10 with a four-game win streak that includes crushing wins over the Detroit Lions (38-6) and the Seattle Seahawks (37-3). Baltimore would have a strong first-half performance at home against the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens would lose to the Browns on a last-second field goal 33-31.
This is the second matchup of the season between the Bengals and the Ravens. Baltimore defeated Cincinnati 27-24 in week two thanks to a stellar passing performance from quarterback Lamar Jackson.
See also how we think about the big TNF matchup between two AFC North Divisional opponents.
The Baltimore Ravens have put their full trust in dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson with an extensive long-term contract. Jackson is the heart and soul of the Ravens' offense as Baltimore is ranked fifth in the league in points per game (27) and ninth in total yards per game (362.7). Jackson has focused more as a passer this season than in any of his previous seasons. Rookie slot receiver Zay Flowers and tight end Mark Andrews are solid weapons, but the Ravens still lack a true deep-threat receiver.
The Bengals' defense has the potential to be one of the top units in the league. They have, however, surprisingly paid badly in defending against the passing and rushing game. Cincinnati ranks 25th in passing yards allowed per game (247.8) and 30th in rushing yards allowed per game (136.2). This is a dangerous combination when facing Jackson and the Ravens.
The Bengals' offense has built a system of multiple skilled position players that can make quick to deep plays. At the start of the season, quarterback Joe Burrow played through a calf injury. Throughout the season, Burrow is back to his elite passing form. The Bengals, however, are now seeing some injuries in their reliable receiver corp with Tee Higgins out and Ja'Marr Chase not 100%. The biggest concern is the lack of consistency with the offensive line, who have allowed 22 sacks and has created the worst rushing offense in the league.
While the offense of the Ravens is the face of their solid record, the defense is one of the most efficient units in the NFL. Baltimore's defense ranks first in points allowed per game (15.7), second in total yards allowed per game (273.6), and fourth in passing yards allowed per game (173.1). They are seeing elite play from their defensive line, linebacker, and in the secondary. Baltimore could be without key members of their secondary, including cornerback Marlon Humphrey potentially out for the season.
The biggest sensation in the last two weeks for the Ravens is the rise of undrafted rookie running back Keaton Mitchell. After rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown on nine carries in the win over the Seattle Seahawks, he only had three carries for 34 yards and a touchdown last week. Head coach John Harbaugh said this week he will get more touches. Mitchell going against an inconsistent rushing defense of the Bengals should do some damage.
With the lack of protection in the run game, Bengals running back Joe Mixon has been needed to be a more reliable playmaker as a receiver. He has accounted for 23 or more receiving yards in three of the last four games.
The Ravens' pass rush could have a big game against a fragile Bengals offensive line. Outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy has accounted for five sacks this season and could easily have a big game on Thursday.
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What: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
When: Thursday, November 16, 8:15 PM ET
How to Watch: Amazon Prime
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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