The Baltimore Ravens defense did not look good last week.
The squad, playing without Terrell Suggs after he suffered a season-ending injury in week one, the Ravens looked disoriented on the defensive side of the ball, missing assignments and missing tackles.
That can’t happen this week.
The undefeated Cincinnati Bengals come to town on Sunday afternoon, bolstered by a turnover-free performance by quarterback Andy Dalton and one of the deepest receiving corps in the entire NFL.
Of course, the Ravens have made moves to improve their defense. The squad acquired cornerback Will Davis earlier this week in an attempt to boost its pass coverage. Davis, however, comes with a bit of an asterik attached. The third-year player has been slowed down by injuries and has yet to actually start an NFL game.
Kickoff for the AFC North matchup is slated for 1 p.m. and is being shown regionally on CBS. Click here to see where the game will be broadcast and read on for everything you need to know about the game.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, September 27, 1 p.m. ET
The game will be broadcast regionally on CBS with Andrew Catalon, Steve Beuerlein and Steve Tasker on the call. Click here to see if you live within that region.
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Baltimore -2, via OddsShark
Cincinnati 27, Baltimore 24 on October 26, 2014 in Cincinnati
Scouting the Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals offense has looked good this season. Undefeated good. Andy Dalton has thrown an interception and, although the rushing game has been up-and-down, the Bengals have found a way to make it work.
But let’s talk about the defense for a second.
Cincinnati has given up, on average, just 16 points in the first two games of the season while cornerback Adam Jones – helmet hitting aside – has been impressive with a team-best 19 tackles already.
Over the past few seasons, the Bengals’ defense has been a bit of an Achilles heel for Baltimore, forcing the Ravens into turnovers and less-than-ideal situations. The key for Cincinnati today is to slow down the run game. The Ravens are 6-1 since 2008 when running the ball 27 or more times against Cincinnati.
Scouting the Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens have never started a season at 0-3. Ever. In the history of the franchise. They are not planning on making history this week. Joe Flacco described the team’s approach to week three, saying:
It definitely adds a little bit of urgency. Whether it should or shouldn’t [add urgency], it probably does a little bit, just because it doesn’t feel good to be in a hole, 0-2.
Although the season has started with two losses, the Ravens aren’t making too many fundamental changes ahead of this Sunday’s AFC North divisonal opener. After all, last week’s performance against the Oakland Raiders, at least offensively, was impressive.
Flacco threw for 384 yards in week two, completing 32 of 45 pass attempts and recording two touchdown passes, both to tight end Crockett Gilmore. Meanwhile, the defense looked solid in week one but clearly struggled to perform against Oakland without the on-field leadership of Terrell Suggs. In reality, the Ravens are really only two bad plays away from being undefeated.
It’s a difficult way to begin the season but the sentiment in Baltimore is that the opportunity for success is there. Now, it’s simply a matter of putting all the pieces together.