The AFC North was expected to be one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL this season, and it has been that way for four weeks with three teams tied 2-2 at the top of the standings.
Two of them will go head to head on “Sunday Night Football” when the ravens receive the Bengals in a highly anticipated showdown.
Even though the Browns currently hold the tiebreaker and Bengals are the reigning AFC champions, the ravens they are the favorites to win the division right now. But that could change quickly with the first tiebreaker for playoff standings being the head-to-head record.
The ravens and the Bengals they have split their four games since Cincinnati selected to Joe Burrowwith baltimore taking the first two and Cincy sweeping the series last season. And neither game has been particularly close, with only one decided by 20 points.
That’s not likely to be the case on Sunday night, considering how close these teams have been so far this season. Their point differentials (Bengals, plus-21; Ravens, plus-19) are nearly identical, and they have two of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the league.
Can the Bengals win a third straight game over the ravens and reestablish their dominance of the AFC North? or will it recover baltimore from a tough loss to Buffalo with a trademark win?
Time and Channel Ravens vs. Bengals
Start: Sunday, October 2 at 5:20 p.m. PT / 8:20 p.m. ET in the United States. 7:20 p.m. in Mexico.
TV: NBC in the United States. ESPN in Latin America.
streaming: fuboTV (Start your free trial) in the US. Star+ in Latin America.
three things to see
1.- Has Joe Burrow returned?
Burrow was the 2021 season favorite after leading the NFL with a 70.4 percent completion rate and 8.9 yards per attempt while carrying the Bengals to the Super Bowl. But his start to the 2022 season was pretty rough.
Burrow he took 13 sacks, threw four interceptions and lost three fumbles in two losses to open the season, looking indecisive and unusually inaccurate. Cincinnati beefed up its offensive line during the offseason, but Burrow he wasn’t taking advantage.
Burrow he has stepped up in the last two games, albeit against weaker opponents in the Jets and the banged-up Dolphins. He has thrown five touchdowns with no turnovers and just three sacks, and his yards per attempt have jumped from 6.0 to 8.4. It’s hard to believe he’s as bad as he was during Week 2, but it could be as simple as him not having to face the top two running backs in the league in TJ Watt and Micah Parsons anymore.
baltimore doesn’t have a fearsome pass-rusher (apologies to Odafe Oweh, who may one day be a star) and ranks dead last in pass defense this season. Part of that has to do with opponents averaging a league-high 44.3 passes per game against the ravens, but they also allowed 7.1 yards per attempt (23rd in the NFL). This could be the time Burrow to shine.
2.- Can either of the two teams get their ground attack right?
Part of the reason for the slow start of Burrow it was the total lack of running game. To any extent, the Bengals they’ve been terrible: 31st in yards per attempt (3.8), 31st in EPA per rush (-0.29) and last in success rate (32.7 percent). When the equipment they didn’t have to respect Joe Mixon and company, they can defend the Bengals with two tall safeties and take big passes.
The Bengals they have amassed fewer rushing yards in each game this season, dropping from 133 to 67, though passing production has increased in recent weeks. If the Bengals are going to turn this phase around, it should start soon, as the ravens they’ve been mediocre against the run, ranking 23rd in yards allowed per attempt (5.0).
Although it is better than Cincinnati, baltimore he has also had trouble running the ball when Lamar Jackson (8.5 ypc) is not keeping it. Justice Hill has an impressive 125 yards on 19 carries but is out for Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, JK Dobbins, Kenyan Drake and Mike Davis have collectively averaged 2.7 yards per carry. That’s a big drop after a similarly banged-up running back averaged 4.6 last season.
Having a functional running game will be even more important with leading receiver Rashod Bateman sidelined with a foot injury. Devin Duvernay he looks like a rising star at receiver, but catching 92 percent of his targets isn’t sustainable. jackson he can only prop up the offense by himself for so long, and a more functional running game would help.
3.- Can Cincinnati press without charging?
jackson has once again been racking up MVP numbers this season, as he leads the NFL in touchdown passes (11) and is third in QBR (79.2). He has always had a talent for putting up flashy numbers, but he has also benefited from other circumstances this season.
jackson he’s only been pressured on 17.5 percent of dropbacks, which is the sixth-lowest mark among starting QBs and far lower than the 21.4 percent rate he faced before this season. Most other quarterbacks with lower pressure ratings (Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Allen, etc.) get the ball out quickly, but Jackson has the fourth-longest average time to throw (3.01 seconds) this season.
Teams have tried to bring in additional pass-rushers, but when the Dolphins and Patriots attacked Jackson a total of 32 times in Weeks 2 and 3, he racked up 537 yards with seven touchdowns and just one interception. He’s just been too creative, so he wins that way.
Cincinnati will need to find a way to chase down Jackson with just the front four, something the Bengals they have had mixed success this season. Despite a fifth-lowest blitz rate of 17.2 percent, they rank 16th in pressure rate (24.3 percent). The star left tackle of the ravensRonnie Stanley (ankle) stays out, giving Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard a better chance to wreak some much-needed havoc.
Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals LIVE
These teams look evenly matched, down to some of their similar flaws. Playing at home in prime time will give a small advantage to ravensalthough they appear to be a better team in Week 5, regardless of where the game is played. baltimore he has the edge at quarterback, and unless he puts up a surprisingly strong performance in the quarterback race, that should be enough.
Prediction: Ravens 28, Bengals 24
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Bengals, Ravens vs Bengals Last modified: October 9, 2022
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Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals LIVE Time, Channel, Where to watch Week 5 NFL 2022