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Week 9: Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals


Week 9: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday November 8, 2009 1:05 PM

Line: Ravens -3.0

One step at a time. That’s the mantra being pumped out from the Castle front office. No game is more important than another, each team must be handled as they come, there is no such thing as a must win. A slow dull drum beat. The Ravens came out of the bye with a 3-3 record. They needed a win desperately, and despite what anyone in the organization might have stated, it wasn’t just another game. It was a flat out, no holds barred, must win. Lose and the Ravens’ chances of making the playoffs would be all but non existent. One step at a time. The Ravens came out guns blazing and stomped all over the previously undefeated Broncos. The Offense’s game plan was executed perfectly, and the Defense managed to regain its swagger.

This week the Ravens have the unenviable task of heading into Paul Brown Stadium to face off against their white hot division rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals. Three weeks ago, the Bengals embarrassed the Ravens at home with a last minute touchdown drive sparked by a series of absolutely sickening defensive penalties. This week Baltimore looks to exact its revenge. One step at a time. You’ve been hearing it all week. This is just another game, it’s a divisional opponent, we treat each contest the same. Don’t believe the hype. The Ravens MUST win this game. Failure to do so would make a mountain out of a molehill in their quest to win the division.

With that in mind let’s take a look at this week’s match up. Keys to the Game

Keep the Fire Going

Last week against the Denver Broncos the Ravens’ Defense regained its identity. Hard hits, solid coverage, great penetration all helped the unit put the game away even as the Offense was slow to get the ball rolling.

To beat the Bengals, the Ravens will have to step it up a notch and bring the same amount of punishing hits and quarterback pressure. In the first meeting, the Ravens had a lot of trouble getting to Carson Palmer, and it allowed him to exploit the secondary all day long. To win on Sunday they will have to find a way to play like they did against the Broncos and bring the pain.

Throw the Darn Ball

Although I think a big part of beating the Bengals this week will be ball control and the run game, the Bengals have the 28th ranked Pass Defense in the NFL. We all know what Joe Flacco can do with his arm when given the time, so why not let him air it out a bit and hit receivers like Kelley Washington, Todd Heap, and Mark Clayton. Although I don’t think Derrick Mason will struggle against the Bengals as he did in the first meeting, I still respect Leon Hall enough to know that Mason is going to be covered soundly for most of the game.

Possess the Ball

The Ravens really stepped it up in this department last week against the Broncos. The Offense came out with their modified no-huddle package and just wore the Broncos’ Defense down with solid runs and short yardage passes. It was the perfect scheme to beat Denver. With no Defense, the Broncos were forced to rely on Kyle Orton to make things happen. Orton’s not particularly well known for doing that which allowed Baltimore’s linebackers and safeties to have a field day.

Beating the Bengals starts here. Priority number one must be to keep Carson Palmer off the field. The Defense will have to do its job, but the Offense can help a great deal by keeping their hands on the ball for as many long sustained drives as possible.

Keep Chad OchoCinco, Andre Cladwell & Chris Henry In Front of You

The Ravens did an excellent job of keeping the Denver wide receivers in front of them all day. This allowed for better pressure attacks from the linebackers and allowed Ed Reed to flow like a missile all over the field.

The Ravens have consistently been cut up badly by the Bengals potent offense. To beat the talented wide receivers, Foxworth, Reed, Washington and Landry have got to keep their man in front of them where they can be bottled up and contained. Getting burned on the outside is how Cincinnati beat Baltimore so soundly in the last meeting.

Mix up the Running Attack

We all know that Ray Rice is a beast. He is the most solid all purpose weapon in the NFL. But just because he’s hot, and undeniably talented, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to some of your other weapons. Le’Ron McClain is a human freight train. Use him to wear down the Cincy defense and provide a change of pace to speedy Rice. Willis McGahee is a combination of McClain and Rice and should be used to keep the Bengals Defense on their toes and guessing as to what’s coming next.

Getting stagnant will only allow good teams to beat you. Staying creative is the only way to win at the top levels of the NFL.

Contain Cedric Benson

For the Ravens’ Defense, this has to be their personal Alamo. Cedric Benson did what no other running back in almost five years did by cutting up the field for 100+ Yards. He made this Defense look foolish, and his ability to run roughshod allowed Carson Palmer to not only keep drives alive, but also hit his wide open receivers.

I will make this very clear. The Ravens absolutely cannot win this game if they fail to contain Cedric Benson.

Ravens Gab Predictions

Jonathon Scruggs

The Bengals are a tough, disciplined (did I just say that) squad with a whole host of ways to beat you, and beat you badly. The Ravens have a lot to prove and this week will be the ultimate test as to who this team is. Are they for real, or are they pretenders?

Given the absolute must win nature of the game, and given the Ravens angry state of mind, I forsee them winning this in a hotly contested low scoring grudge match.

Ravens 20 — Bengals 13

Matt Jergensen

Ravens 23 – Bengals 20

Baltimore must contain Cedric Benson in order to make the Bengal offense one dimensional. Benson has had a fantastic season so far but winning this battle will be the ultimate key for the Ravens to win this game. I would also expect a more varied game plan from Cam Cameron. This seems strange to write but the only defense this season that has truly slowed the offensive juggernaut were these same Bengals. I think the desperation to stay in the hunt helps push the Ravens over the top.

Gene Winner

The Ravens offensive has kicked it into a higher gear starting with the Minnesota game and followed by a great performance against Denver. Cincinnati had a great game plan in the first match up and Cam Cameron has been working hard to settle the score. With Jared Gaither back in the line up for a second week in a row and with Ray Rice clicking, the Ravens have the complete package.

On the defensive front, the Ravens unit will be motivated to slow down Cincinnati’s running game to say the least. In their first meeting the defense had a bad day stopping the run and this week they are focused to put the running game to a halt. The secondary was aggressive last week and made tackles behind the line of scrimmage, their mentality changed for the better. The Bengals are explosive and if the Ravens secondary picks up where they left off they can slow down the big plays. Carson Palmer and his receivers will make some plays but containment of the deep ball and pressure up front will be crucial

Ravens 30 – Bengals 19

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One Response to “Week 9: Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals”

  1. […] degree in history from the University of Maryland, College Park. …and more » Week 9: Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals » Ravens Gab – 11/07/2009 Week 9: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Sunday November 8, […]

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