The Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens close out their seasons feeling a bit differently. The Bengals are finishing their year up, while the Ravens just need a win to reach the postseason for the first time since 2014. If the Bills and Titans both lose, they can still get in with a loss this afternoon. You don’t want to leave it up to other teams, though, it’s best to just to win and get the guarantee. Joe Flacco certainly hasn’t been a guarantee under center.
He’s been erratic with the football and is looking for a chance to prove himself in the postseason. During the Ravens first Super Bowl, Flacco took command of that team and was the reason they won it all. This year it’s been the defense leading the way. All it could take is Flacco getting hot for the Ravens to go on a tear. They have a good defense, but I do not believe it’s good enough to withstand Flacco making mistakes left and right.
The Bengals hit a high note last week, defeating the lifeless Lions who needed a win to stay alive in the postseason hunt. The Lions took the loss and it removed them from the playoffs. The Bengals went in with the worst offense in the league, but the Lions, needing a win, looked like they were playing in a preseason game. Those are the Lions for you, as they will mist out and Jim Caldwell’s job is held in the balance.
Marvin Lewis is probably on the way out in Cincinnati. Finally. Lewis has been the head coach of the Bengals since 2003, the longest tenured head coach in the league. He’s accomplished some things in Cincinnati, but could never get them to the Super Bowl. They had talent, but the Bengals always seemed to mess it up one way or the another. Head below for our free Bengals vs. Ravens pick.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens Betting Odds:
vs. Ravens -9(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bengals vs. Ravens Pick:
The Bengals looked good last week against the Lions, as they took a 26-17 win. Andy Dalton was okay, as usual, with 238 yards and a touchdown and interception. The defense really benefitted from having linebacker Vontaze Burfict back, but he got injured again against the Lions. Burfict will be gone for this one. It’s pretty clear how different their defense is when he isn’t playing. Running back Jox Mixon who played against the Lions will also be absent, too. Their running game is lifeless enough as it is, and no Mixon certainly compounds the situation some more. They’re 31st in the league with just 81.3 yards per game.
I can say now that the Bengals are going to have virtually zero running game here. The Ravens are going to be able to snuff it out pretty easily. Conversely, the Bengals have been getting beat up pretty good on the ground defensively. Again, no Burfict on the field makes everything just a little tougher for the Bengals’ defense. I can see them struggling against the Ravens’ running game in this spot. How much of a beating do they want to take against a team who need a win? Look for the Bengals to lay down in this game, as they have their eyes set on the offseason.
Along with Burfict and Mixon, safety George Iloka is playing with a banged up shoulder. Corner William Jackson is questionable for this matchup against the Ravens. If the offense can’t move the ball on the Ravens, the absence of Burfict may not mean much. The Bengals are 32nd in the NFL with only 275.3 yards per game. Like I said, without Mixon, the Bengals are really going to look lost against the Ravens. Minus the Steelers game, the Ravens have allowed just 12.1 points per game in their last seven contests. The Bengals have been bad on the road this season, with a win against the Browns and Broncos. The Broncos’ win was by only 3 points, and Osweiler handed them that game. I don’t see how the Bengals get up to play this contest in Baltimore. I like a 24-10 or 24-13 win for the Ravens.
PICK: RAVENS -9 (-110)