Week 5: Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens

AFP/Getty 81706231ND007_BENGALS_RAVENS

Week 5: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

Sunday October 11, 2009 1:05 PM

Line: Ravens -8.5

It’s the end of the game. New England is leading by 6 points with less than
five minutes to go on the clock. After a failed 4th down conversion the
Ravens hold strong and force a 3 and out. At this point the Ravens have
absolutely everything going for them. Less than three minutes on the clock.
Decent not great field position. A solid offense brimming with confidence
and determination.

Joe Flacco took what he had and marched his unit down the field with
precision and poise. It was quite possibly one of the finest two-minute
drills I’ve ever seen. Executed Flawlessly. With 34 second remaining in the
ball game the Ravens were looking at 4th and 4 to go on their own 8 yard
line. The play should have called for a Half Back Dash to the right side,
but Cam Cameron threw a cog into the conventional thinking and called up a
slot pass to Mark Clayton. There he was, all alone, wide open and untouched.
Flacco quickly jams the ball right into Clayton’s numbers. He catches the
ball turns his body up field and manages to get just enough momentum to
carry him into the end zone. Game over, Ravens win in dramatic fashion
27-26. It’s their first ever victory in Foxboro, and more importantly it’s
their first ever victory against the New England Patriots.

What? Wait… You’re telling me he dropped it? You’re messing with me right?
Mark Clayton had the game in his hands and he DROPPED IT? RAVENS LOSE? Oh
you have GOT to be kidding me…

Say it ain’t so Joe.

Heartbreaking. That’s what last Sunday was. Absolutely, unequivocally
heartbreaking. But that’s the NFL for you. Ups and downs, wins and losses.
Sometimes you go into a game, you give it everything you have, you face
challenge after challenge after challenge, and still even when you have
victory in sight, something goes wrong. A dropped pass, a bad call (or many
as the case was on Sunday), and the game is over. But you can’t let it get
to you. You have to pick yourself up. You have to move on, and you have to
get back to it. You have to get ready for next week’s opponent. The only
thing you can do is come out the next week hotter than the fires of god
awful hell and punish your enemies.

This Sunday the Ravens return home to face the Cardiac Cats. The Cincinnati
Bengals are one tipped ball away from being 4-0 but have faced do or die
situations coming from behind in each week of the season thus far. The
Ravens must shrug off the scars of last week’s devastating loss and be
prepared for a Bengals team that will punish you if you look past them (just
ask the Steelers). Statistically Carson Palmer has had his best games when
facing Baltimore, but it remains to be seen how well a young offensive line
will play against a Ravens front seven hungry for blood, and more
importantly redemption. With that in mind let’s take a look at this week’s

*Ravens Gab Keys to the Game***

*Shore up the Secondary*

* *

Probably the biggest overall weakness currently facing this balanced and
down right nasty Ravens squad is its secondary defense. The unit has been
surrendering points and yardage like its going out of style. The typically
stout cornerback/safety tandem is currently ranked 26th in the league
against the pass, and I can tell you right now that John Harbaugh finds that
entirely unacceptable. .

The Bengals have always matched up well against the Ravens, and have never
failed to have a big day against them in one form or another. Speedy,
talented receivers such as Esteban Ochocinco, Chris Henry, and Laverneus
Coles can wreck havoc on this Ravens defense if the secondary doesn’t
address the issues which have been hurting them up to this point.

The main key to a Ravens victory is better play from the back end of the
defense. We all know that teams can’t run the ball against Baltimore, but
through week four every team in the league has sure as hell seen that you
can throw against them.

*Air it Out*

Last week against the Patriots, the Ravens needed to run the ball to win.
They failed to do so and lost. The Patriots had no answer for Ray Rice, yet
his carries were limited and Cam Cameron stubbornly insisted on sticking to
the pass first offense. This week, the exact opposite is true. The Bengals
have one of the statistically worst pass defenses in the NFL. Outside of
Leon Hall, they have no one who should be playing competitive football
professionally. If it wasn’t for their better-than-people-think front seven,
The Bengals would be 0-4 instead of 3-1.

Pass the ball. It’s that simple. Odds are Hall is going to draped all over
Derrick Mason like an orange and black blanket, but to receivers like Kelley
Washington, Todd Heap and, gulp, Mark Clayton, this means they should be
running roughshod all over the field.

*Protect Joe Flacco*

Antwan Odom is a monster of a man. He has 8 sacks already and is tied for
first in the NFL for that category. Containing him will be the number one
duty of Michael Oher who is likely to suit up in place of injured right
tackle Jared Gaither. Keeping odom in check should be mission numero uno,
because if he gets to run free, it’s going to be a long day for Joe Flacco
(just ask Aaron Rodgers).

But Odom isn’t the only threat the Ravens O-line needs to be concerned
about. Also looking down the barrel is Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers, both
young ferocious line backers who can bring the pain. The O-line will have
its work cut out for them this Sunday against a better than average Bengals
front defensive unit. The trick is going to be giving Joe enough time to
complete his throws to everyone not named Derrick Mason.

*Play Conservative Defense*

Do you know what happens when you blitz the hell out of Carson Palmer? He
beats you like a rented mule. Until the Ravens can gain some confidence in
their secondary, they need to dial it back a bit and rely more on the inside
rush then the all out blitz they’ve grown accustomed to. I know this may
sound like sacrilege but Ochocinco is a good receiver, as is Chris Henry.
Both are tall, both are fast, both will hurt you badly. In order to win the
Bengals will need to establish their ground game early. This will be the
time to bring the pain. Inevitably however, all teams realize this is futile
and return to the air attack against Baltimore. Once Cincy shows that
they’re going to try and target their wide-outs and TE’s more and more
that’s when the Ravens need to go to a more conservative man defense. Rush
hard but don’t overuse the all out blitz.

*Ravens Gab Predictions*

*Jonathon Scruggs*

The Bengals are better than expected, but they’re not THAT good. A lot of
talk has been made about they could easily be 4-0 (including by me), but
just as easily the Bengals could be 04. They struggled against the Broncos,
they got lucky against a self imploding Steelers, the Packers’ O-line took
the week off allowing for 10 sacks, and if you look closely, Shayne Graham’s
game winning overtime field goal against the Browns was no good and should
have been ruled wide-right.

That being said, the Bengals always come to play against the Ravens, but
Baltimore is simply too much for Carson’s boys to hang… Ravens win

*Ravens 31 — Bengals 17 *

*Matt Jergensen*

The Ravens return home ready to avenge their first loss of the season
and to everyone’s surprise they are playing a Bengals team that is
also off to a 3-1 start and tied for the division lead. Cincinnati has used an improved defense and with the help of a rejuvenated running game they have Carson Palmer back on track. Even Ocho Cinco is talking smack once again so you know that the team currently feels confident.

However, each Bengals game this season was decided in the last :30. The team could be 4-0 without a fluke tip but they could just as easily be 0-4. Baltimore reacquaints itself with the run, since the Stripes defense were gashed by Jerome Harrison last week and they use the power of the home crowd to get back in the win column.

*Ravens 24 – Bengals 17*

*Gene Winner*

The Ravens are at home and none too happy about the calls and outcome last
week. Cam Cameron needs to bring balance back to the offense and grind out a few drives with the running game. The Ravens should slow down running back Cedric Benson and the secondary will be motivated due to all the Twitter banter from Chad 85. The Ravens are the team with ‘the eye of the tiger.’

Ravens Win!

*Ravens 35 – Bengals 18

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2 Responses to “Week 5: Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens”

  1. Oucho Ravens says:

    So much for this “BRAIN TRUST”… Who dey !!!

  2. Steve says:

    “Shayne Graham’s
    game winning overtime field goal against the Browns was no good and should
    have been ruled wide-right.”
    Check the youtube. When that snapshot is taken that is used to claim it is wide right, the ball is WELL beyond the goalposts and almost immediately hits the net afterward.
    The refs weren’t tying their shoes when the ball went through, it was good by four feet.

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