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First Look: Bengals vs. Ravens

1. Home sweet home- The Ravens haven’t played a home game in over three weeks now and nothing cures a little cold streak like some home cooking. The fans know this is really the Ravens last chance at not only making a push for the postseason, but also any hope of winning the division. The Bengals are coming off a tough loss in Miami and have had 10 days to prepare for the Ravens. Joe Flacco hasn’t thrown an interception this season at home, so this home game is well needed for him. The team will hope to feed off of the crowds energy and pull off the upset against the Bengals.

2- Stopping Green- A.J. Green is one of the few receivers in this league that can do it all. He is tall and athletic, and can run any route. He will need to be accounted for on every snap, and a secondary that has struggled with communication this season will have to be on the same page when it comes to containing number 18. Quarterback Andy Dalton relies heavily on Green, especially with the deep ball, and they will try to connect on some big plays in this game. If the Ravens can’t stop Green, then they won’t be able to win this game.

3. Bengals defense decimated- The Ravens are fortunate that injuries have taken a toll on this Bengals defense, or else they would be in bigger trouble. With all-pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins out for the year, and pro bowl cornerback Leon Hall also on injured reserve, the Bengals are lacking star power. Flacco has struggled against Mike Zimmer’s defense for a couple years now, and even with those injuries are still a tough group to take on. Defensive ends Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap and Wallace Gilberry coming off the edge, the offensive line will have their hands full with these talented rushers. Zimmer does a great job of drawing up good schemes and he has the talent in place to succeed. The Ravens have struggled on offense up to this point and they will have to be at their best if they want to win this game.

4. Last stand- Coming into this game on a three game losing streak and a 1-2 division record puts a lot of pressure on these Ravens. The Bengals know it. The Ravens know it. The fans know it. If the Ravens lose, that will be it, and there will be a new division winner this year. The Ravens need to play with urgency throughout the whole game in hopes of winning this game. The Bengals have the luxury of coming into Baltimore with nothing to lose. That will allow them to play loose, which will be an advantage for a team playing on the road. The Ravens can’t afford to come out tight because of the pressure of this game. They will have to be at their best and they know it. This is their last stand, and this team will be tested against a tough Bengals team.

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