A key early season AFC North battle will take place in Cincinnati in Week 2. The 1-0 Baltimore Ravens will do battle with the 0-1 Cincinnati Bengals. Kickoff is set for 1PM EST. Cincinnati won both meetings last year en route to the North division title.
The Ravens opened their 2010 campaign with a hard fought 10-9 win over the Jets on Monday Night Football. Baltimore’s stingy defense absolutely throttled the Jets’ offense, limiting New York to just 176 total yards and a league best 60 through the air. The Ravens won the game ugly as their offense struggled to put much together either. Third year QB Joe Flacco hit 20 of 38 passes for 248 yards with no touchdowns and one pick. Running back Ray Rice was stuffed most of the game, mustering 43 yards on 21 carries. The Ravens also turned the ball over three times but were bailed out by a ferocious defensive effort from Ray Lewis and company. Baltimore continued their recent season trend of being solid in September by improving to 7-0 ATS in their last seven September games. While it was close, the Ravens were +1.5 last week and won the game outright.
Cincinnati looked awful out of the gates in their opener in New England. The team created a lot of buzz in the off season by bringing in temperamental wide receiver Terrell Owens to pair with diva Chad Ochocinco. If last week was any indication, this team may implode before we reach the halfway point of the season. The Bengals gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half, which made the game a 31-3 debacle. Cincy never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way and dropped the game 38-24. While Owens and Ochocinco combined for 19 catches and over 200 yards, there was no balance in the running game due to the massive deficit they dug themselves into. The defense has to be stronger going forward for the Bengals to contend in the rugged AFC North. The loss continues a bad trend for Cincinnati who have no wins in their last 4 against the spread and seem to particularly struggle against the league’s top flight defenses.
Ravens vs Bengals Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
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Ravens vs Bengals Prediction for Week 2:
Game Total Prediction (TOP PLAY) – While the Bengals beat Baltimore straight up in both meetings last year, it is a new season and I think the Ravens look like a stronger squad. We can’t read too much into the first week of action of course but Baltimore’s D looked like it will keep most opponents under 20 points all season long. The under is 4-1-1 in the Ravens last 6 games and the total has gone under in 4 of the last 5 head to head matchups between the teams.
Spread Prediction – Baltimore was sloppy in their opening week win over New York and still came away with a W. If they can hold onto the ball this week, they certainly have the playmakers on D to shut down Cincinnati. The Bengals have been struggling ever since the end of last season ATS and straight up, after the Jets exposed their weaknesses in back to back games to close out their 2009 season. I expect the Ravens to outplay them in this one and cover the 3 point spread.