If the Bengals play the way they’ve played at home the last four home games, it should be a easy win. This game will not be like the other previous four blowout home wins. Expect a typical AFC north physical contest.
For some reason, they play differently at home than on the road on offense. They are so conservative away from Paul Brown Stadium. Yeah, running the football is good and all, but get a lead then run it. Quarterback Andy Dalton is put into difficult situations on third downs in the road games because they don’t run the ball well. You get a lead, then pound it.
In the first meeting between the two, Dalton had opportunities in the middle of the field and they didn’t go there enough, but at home they always than on the road. The offensive line was horrible in the first game, allowing five sacks. But, with the changes in the line especially Andrew Whitworth to guard and Anthony Collins to tackle, they have done an exceptional job protecting Dalton and it will be key in the game.
The defense had a tremendous day against the Ravens offense the first meeting. Linebacker Vincent Rey had a breakout game in his first career start, which included his first career interception. The running game for Baltimore was a non factor, just like has it been the whole season.
PREDICTION: Bengals 23, Ravens 16. A lot on the line in this game. A Cincinnati victory and if the Buffalo Bills can pull a miracle and go up to Foxboro and beat the Patriots. It will give the Bengals the No.2 seed and a first round bye. For Baltimore, I won’t even go into the details in the madness of scenarios for the AFC last playoff spot. All about running the football in this game, and if Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham don’t play, spread it out. There’s a lot of depth on this team. Keys for a Bengals victory: get to Flacco, stop the run, run the ball, “Good Andy”, tackle on defense, don’t let Jacoby Jones beat you on the kicking game and punt. Do all of that and the team will carry out it goals of going undefeated at home.