Week 16: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday December 30, 2012 1:05 PM
Line: Ravens -2 O/U 44
Man that was AWESOME. Some of us had a thought it would be good, but who could have known it would be that good? The injury situation not withstanding hope returned to Ravens nation behind the most soothing of balms: fulfillment of potential. The Ravens absolutely had to win that game against the Giants and they did so in resounding fashion. Now as AFC North Champions for the second straight year, week 16 is just an exercise in going through the motions. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this week’s keys to the game.
Baltimore Gridiron Report Keys to the Game
1st and Ten: Stay Healthy
For the love of God don’t get hurt. I know all of you out there reading this have seen Band of Brothers (because at this point in the cultural lexicon it is required viewing of all men ages 18-80) and week 17 for the Ravens is like the final episodes where everyone is trying to live day to day in order to make it home.
Play it safe, play to win, but please, PLEASE stay healthy. That is the most important key to this game. Don’t wreck your car on the warmup heat.
2nd and Long: Come Out Strong
I expect the Ravens starters to be in full pre-season mode. They will likely play a half if the game plan is being executed and be relieved once they get into a solid rhythm and show that they’re tuned up and ready to go.
That means coming out to a strong start and really getting after it. Move the ball, score early and get out of the game.
3rd and Short: Run Run Run
Part of staying healthy is keeping away from the sixth ranked defense in the league and arguably the best pass rushing unit. Run the ball to keep the pressure off Joe and allow him to stay upright until Tyrod Taylor comes into manage the clock. I would like to see healthy doses of Anthony Allen with mixed in Ray Rice and mixed in Bernard Pierce to keep them sharp but fresh.
Run the ball. Do it. Now.
4th Down: Max Protect
I expect that Dennis Pita is going to have another quiet down week against the Bengals. He’s not as good a blocker as Billy Bajema and he’s not as quick as Ed Dickson, so he’ll likely be relegated to a third TE this week so the Ravens can essentially repeat their performance against the Giants where they neutralized the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul with well executed Max Protect.
Keep your quarterback healthy and ensure that he’s ready to go once the second season starts in 7 days.
Extra Point: Play to Win but Play Smart
The Ravens are in and have a slim chance of improving their seeding. That means they have very little to play for. The Bengals are in and have NO possibility of improving their seeding. They have nothing to play for. This game means essentially very little. But this is football, and in football you have to play to win. The game is engineered that way. The Ravens must play to win but play smart. Focus on getting to the Colts, that’s the more important battle.
Jonathon Scruggs (9-6)
I predict Marvin rests his starters and the Ravens win by a touchdown.
Ravens 24 — Bengals 17
Matt Jergensen (10-5)
It’s hard to get a read on this game. I think both teams will play to win but only to a point. I’ll give the Ravens a slight edge as they had the Bengals number the past few times they’ve met.
Ravens 21 – Bengals 17
Gene Winner (13-2)
This game really is a toss up. Both coaches probably won’t go full throttle on the starters with post season upcoming. I’ll take the Ravens; they have more to gain in the playoff seeding with a win
Ravens 24 – Bengals 20
Ben Zinman (11-4)
The offense for the Ravens will continue to explore its uses and designs as Joe Flacco and new Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell prepare for the playoffs. Ravens will defeat the Bengals in a close fought game decided in the final minutes
Ravens 27 – Bengals 24