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Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals Open Home Slate Against Ravens

Jeffery Carr

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© Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Get your popcorn ready, your Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) are back home to host the Baltimore Ravens (1-0) in what’s sure to be a knock-down, drag-out AFC North skirmish. Thursday night is going to be rocking at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Basics

These two teams know each other well. Since the Ravens entered the league, the all-time series is split in half with each team winning 22 games. The Bengals have won 14 games against the Ravens in Cincinnati. Baltimore’s shutout victory, to open last season at PBS, snapped a five-game win streak at home for Cincinnati in the series. Marvin Lewis is 11-8 against John Harbaugh. The Bengals have been outscored by the Ravens in their series 814-942.

The Offense

Andy Dalton has had an up-and-down career against Baltimore. He’s thrown 15 touchdowns compared to 17 interceptions with a 74.1 passer rating. His career completion percentage of 57% against the Ravens is 5% lower than his overall career mark of 62%. He’s been sacked 28 times by Baltimore, in his career, more on that in a bit.

On the playmakers’ side, Joe Mixon saw four-plus yards per carry in his two games, last year, and will look to score his first career TD against Baltimore, in Thursday’s game. A man who needs no introduction, A. J. Green leads all Bengals skill-players with six scores against the Ravens. Always Andy’s favorite target, A. J. averages just over 80 yards a game, in this division rivalry.

The Defense

The Bengals have allowed the Ravens right at three touchdowns, per game, for their series. Cincinnati has never shut Baltimore out, despite the Ravens doing it for the fourth time to the Bengals last season.

Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, and Michael Johnson have combined for 23 sacks of Joe Flacco, in their career, with Dunlap leading the way at nine. The rest of the front seven is pretty green against the Purple and Black.

The secondary is also pretty green, other than Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard, who both have pick-sixes against Flacco. William Jackson III is still looking for his first interception against Baltimore.

The Skinny

Two big question marks loom for the Bengals in this game: how much will the right side of the offensive line give to Terrell Suggs and the Ravens pass rush and what will Lamar Jackson do?

First question: Bobby Hart, and whoever else comes in to play right tackle, will get a steady diet of Suggs. Despite being up there in years, “Sizzle” will be a headache for Bill Lazor and the Bengals pass protection. I don’t see him lining up on Cordy Glenn, too much, as Baltimore will attempt to exploit the matchups. Expect Lazor to line Tyler Kroft on the right side to help double-team Suggs, when the offense is not in the red zone.

Second question: Jackson was not drafted in the first round to sit idly by and watch Flacco continue his decline. The Ravens spelled the elder with the rookie a few times against the Bills, and even played them both on the same play a handful of times. Teryl Austin will practically have to build two separate game plans, depending on whose taking the snaps. Statistics-wise, Jackson threw it four times and ran it seven in week one, so it doesn’t initially appear as though he did a lot. But his presence is enough to throw shade at defenses, forcing them to think about another element that Flacco cannot, nor has ever, brought to the table. Jackson’s presence has seemed to energize Flacco in the passing game, too, as he spread the ball around effectively against a weak Buffalo secondary, last week. Expect Preston Brown and Nick Vigil to share shadowing responsibilities with Jackson on the field.

Bringing it Home

This game will tell us a lot about our Bengals. The Colts, excluding Andrew Luck, are not a good team. The Ravens, however, are in the discussion of division champs, and have been perennial thorns in the Bengals’ side. Baltimore wants revenge for Cincinnati knocking them out of the playoff race, last year, and will be coming in to PBS fired up. I’ve seen the over under at 44.5 on this game and, if I were a betting man, would take the over.

Prediction: Ravens win 35-31. Joe Mixon will continue to build momentum toward stardom, but I see Baltimore pounding Dalton with a consistent rush that will force a few turnovers in key places. A new receiving core of Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and John Brown will cause all Bengals defensive backs not named Jackson headaches, which will also open up the running game for the Ravens.

P.S. – I hope that’s wrong.

Check out @lockedonBengals on Twitter as well as my handle @jefffcarr. I will be tweeting tonight and all season.

Jeff has spent his entire life around sports. From playing baseball and golf in high school to traveling with college softball, volleyball, and men’s basketball teams as their media relations guy, sports have been at the center of his mind. Just as comfortable talking spread offenses as he is talking Sabermetrics, get ready for simplistic views of complicated sports jargon. The Queen City is his home and he is excited to write about the Reds and the Bengals.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Three-Wide Set, All My Bengals

Jeffery Carr

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© David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

There was a soap opera that was on television, when I was a kid, that I would see when I stayed home sick from school. Figured the title fits what has happened with the Bengals the last few days, so I tweaked it for this week’s three-wide set, what’d you think?

  1. Teryl Austin out, Marvin Lewis in…again.So the most obvious move, ever, happened Monday with the separation of the Bengals and their defunct defensive director. Austin seemed like a good guy, and all, but his defense was horrendous. In case you’ve lived under a rock and are just now delving into the Bengals 2018 season, they are last in all the NFL in yards allowed. Somehow, they are not last, but second to last in points allowed. In fact, as Jay Morrison remarked on Twitter, the Bengals are 11th in points scored this season, but 28th in point differential. That’s how bad this defense has been. One more oh wow moment with bad defense is I am pretty sure, without looking, that the last two Bengals opponents haven’t punted. (Checks stats) Ok, they forced two punts in the Buccaneers game. That being said, opposing offenses had converted over 50% of their third down attempts against the Cincinnati defense. That’s not great. Oh, and one more, one more, oh wow moment: the Bengals became the first team in NFL history to allow 500+ yards in three-straight games…okay, I am done.
    Enter Marvin to “fix” the defense. Not sure it can be done, at this point, but to be real, it can’t get worse. Like, when you’re last, you can’t be more last. Just like if you’re dead, you can’t die again. Yet, somehow, with the worst defense in the league, the Bengals are not dead.  Lewis can schematically fix the defense (which doesn’t help the tackling) and may be able to up the ante on the pass rush, as this defense has been the most passive I’ve seen since Marvin came aboard, but will it be enough? If they pull out a win this Sunday in Baltimore, it will put them in a nice spot for the 2nd wild card spot, if they don’t get it together and lose to Baltimore then the three-wide set might start looking at three draft prospects for the Bengals, each week.
  1. Hue Jackson is back, again again. Welcome back home Mike Brown’s favorite son not named Marvin. The prodigal son returns as he, once again, tried to take his inheritance and go off to another team to make a name for himself, only to find himself, yet again, an assistant on the Bengals coaching staff. This time it’s very Dwight Schrute-esque as he is the “Special Assistant to the Head Coach.” Read that, “assistant to the head coach,” not “assistant head coach.” Here’s hoping Bill Lazor puts his stapler in jello.
    I really do not know how to feel. The “in the moment” side of me likes it for the simple fact he can provide inside info on the Browns, who the Bengals haven’t played, and he might be able to help out a now double-duty Marvin. But the “big picture” side of me hates this. Now it gives a reason for Mike Brown to let go of Marvin Lewis, after his contract expires, and seamlessly transition to another coach he likes. Brown now doesn’t have to go through the necessary, desperately needed painful process of interviewing new coaches who could possibly provide fresh-thinking to a team that desperately needs it. Instead he can hand over the keys to the coach’s office, without any hullabaloo, to a man who does not deserve it (objectively) but, rather, is someone who Mike Brown sees as a son. Ugh…
  1. John Ross scored! That’s right, much congratulations to the man who has endured a lot of criticism, a lot of vitriol, a lot of unnecessary hate…I am talking, of course, about our fearless podcast host, James Rapien. I thought Ross looked good, I thought Andy was bad. JR15 was getting separation, making some guys miss on their coverage…and the ball fell short. Dalton underthrew him. What was the joke when Ross was drafted? “Great, now we can have the fastest dude in the NFL for Andy to still overthrow.” Well, he wasn’t overthrown, he was underthrown. Seriously, there was a tweet, can’t remember who (probably Joe Goodberry), that showed all of John Ross’ targets. The ones he didn’t catch, were bad throws. Plain and simple. Those who criticize Ross are not looking at the whole picture. I think he gets better and I think Andy can build a rapport with him, maybe even this week at Baltimore. Point is, fans and haters, John Ross is going to be just fine.

This is the biggest game of the year, this Sunday, at M&T Bank stadium. Last year, the Bengals knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs there. Will the Ravens get revenge? Or will the Bengals continue their recent dominance over the Ravens (eight wins in the last 10 games)? Stay tuned!

Follow @jefffcarr and @lockedonBengals for more Cincinnati professional football content

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Cincinnati Bengals

Reacting to Austin’s firing and our film review with Joe Goodberry

James Rapien

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I discuss the Bengals firing defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Marvin Lewis taking over for him, plus Joe Goodberry joins me for our weekly film review. We talk about the Bengals’ 51-14 loss to the Saints, what can be fixed on defense, their issues on offense and more. Listen and subscribe to the podcast below.

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Cincinnati Bengals

The Saints march all over the Bengals 51-14

James Rapien

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The Saints dismantled the Bengals 51-14 on Sunday afternoon. Cincinnati falls to 5-4 and continues to struggle following a 4-1 start to the season. I recapped them game, discussed the defensive struggles, plus hear from Drew Brees, John Ross and I respond to your voicemails on a postgame edition of the Locked on Bengals podcast. Listen and subscribe below.

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