An all-AFC North showdown unfolds on Sunday of Week 12 as the visiting Cincinnati Bengals travel to Baltimore to do battle with the 5-5 Ravens. Many didn’t foresee the Ravens near the top of the AFC North this late into the season, but here we are. The Steelers haven’t been their best and they have battled injuries too, but the Ravens have remained solid throughout. The Bengals meanwhile are in the midst of yet another dismal and mediocre season, and having just lost A.J. Green for the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see what the morale of the group is like. Baltimore needs to win to keep pace with Pittsburgh at the top, and Cincy needs a win or else their playoff hopes are likely done. This is a big game with a ton on the line. Read on below for a full game breakdown and an official betting selection for the Bengals and Ravens.
Bengals vs. Ravens Betting Odds:
Cincinnati Bengals +4 (-115)
@ Baltimore Ravens -4 (-105)
Over 40.5 (-110)
Under 40.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bengals vs. Ravens Pick:
With the line currently set where it’s at, it doesn’t seem like the general betting public are giving the Bengals much of a chance for the remaining few weeks of the 2016 season. Without their leader and playmaker, A.J. Green, there’s no doubt the Bengals are worse off, but their offence possesses many playmakers, and don’t be surprised to see some of them really pick up the slack today in Baltimore. Andy Dalton still has one of the game’s best tight ends in Tyler Eifert at his disposal. Plus, rookie Tyler Boyd looked excellent last week without Green’s presence. It is no secret that Baltimore has some big holes in their secondary, and don’t be surprised to see the Bengals be able to exploit this with regularity on Sunday afternoon.
On the ground, with Giovani Bernard now out with an ACL injury, it’s all about Jeremy Hill – and that might be able to help matters. Some regularity for one of their backs might be a good thing, and this should allow Hill to get into more of a rhythm going forward. Hill is also a solid pass catcher, as seen by a solid rookie campaign in this role. With the Ravens having a decent run defence, Hill should be an effective dual-threat option on Sunday, catching passes out of the backfield. All in all, even without A.J. Green, there will be opportunities for an otherwise stellar Cincinnati offence.
For Baltimore, it remains to be seen which Joe Flacco shows up for this contest. He’s been criticized again this year, this time by former teammate Ray Lewis. He’s got a full arsenal of weapons at his disposal, but the Bengals defence remains a talented group. Even though Cincinnati hasn’t played to their full potential in 2016, they remain a unit that definitely has the potential to be disruptive on Sunday. That said, they’ve been weak through the air and on the ground, but Baltimore’s offence hasn’t instilled much confidence in them actually being able to take advantage. Their running game has basically been a carousel all season long, and through the air Joe Flacco and his targets have been responsible for a wildly inconsistent aerial attack. Expect the Bengals to step up and do just enough to limit this uninspiring unit from the Ravens.
Most people think the Bengals are done, but these teams are very evenly matched when you look beneath the surface. From a morale standpoint, yes, it’s tough to lose A.J. Green, but if the Bengals can win this game, and Pittsburgh drops next week’s contest to the Giants, Cincinnati is suddenly just a half-game out with Green due back later in the season. There’s still a ton to play for in the AFC North and you have to think Marvin Lewis is really preaching that message all week long. This line as it stands right now is too high, and it’s no secret Baltimore plays very close games against everyone – unless you’re the Browns. Expect Cincinnati to hang around all game long, and be in this one late into the fourth quarter. They just lost by only four points to Buffalo without A.J. Green and had their kicker not missed two extra points, they could have and should have won. This is still a good team, and look for the Bengals to respond on Sunday.
PICK = Bengals +4 (-115)