The Ravens come into Cincinnatti to play the Bengals as 1.5 point favorites. The Ravens dominated the Bills last week en route to a 47-3 win. The Bengals played a pretty close contest against the Colts, rallying to take the lead in the fourth quarter and then putting the game away with a defensive score. The Bengals were a very popular team this offseason with many media members believing they could win the AFC North. Despite how well the Ravens played last week they have been hovering around 1 to 1.5 point favorites on the road. I believe this line should be higher and would be if the media was not so high on the Bengals.
The Ravens came into this year after a mediocre season last year where there offense did not play particularly well. They have revamped their passing game and added new WRs John Brown Willie Snead and Michael Crabtree, each catching a TD last week. This is a huge improvement to last season where the Ravens were unable to finish drives that ended in the red zone and had to settle for field goals. The Ravens defense is still very talented but was not really tested against the Bills. They will have a bigger challenge with the Bengals this week. Their main issue will be shutting down AJ Green without top CB Jimmy Smith who is missing the game for being suspended. Although in week 17 without Smith last year, the Ravens held Green to only 2 catches for 17 yards. The Ravens were within one play of making the playoffs last year when they were burned by a last minute 51 yard TD pass on 4th and 12. That loss came at home to the Bengals. I expect the Ravens to be looking to get some revenge from that game as well this week.
The Bengals came into this year as media darlings. They return an offense headlined by Andy Dalton and AJ Green. They are also planning on their younger players WR John Ross and RB Joe Mixon to develop into superstars. They started last week as 3 point underdogs to the Colts but by kickoff the Bengals were slightly favored. The public and professionals alike were all over the Bengals and the over last week. They still have not proved anything to me. I know they won but they gave up a lot of yards in the process and this was a game against the Colts and Andrew Luck who has not played in almost 2 seasons. The Colts were driving to win the game when Jack Doyle fumbled the ball which was picked up by Clayton Fejedelem and taken 83 yards the other way for the game sealing TD. The Bengals ended the game with fewer total yards, fewer total plays and less time of possession. They look like a fraud team to me. I was not sold on the Bengals in the offseason. I think that the Ravens have a much more talented squad and are in a much better position to win the AFC North. I am still not sold on the Bengals after week 1. I think the Ravens are a much better team in all phases of the game. I am taking the Ravens and the points.