Week 17 Preview: Ravens vs Bengals
It’s Saturday and that means we’re one day away from the Ravens locking down a first round AFC playoff bye as they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals. Hopefully you have your gameday planned out involving recovering from NYE in your monogrammed Ray Lewis Snuggie and watching the game.
- There is no better hangover cure than Ravens Football and a RL52 Snuggie.
The bullets for the Sunday’s game are after the jump.
- The Ravens released their injury report after Friday’s practice but the final status for several players won’t be decided until just before game time. Anquan Boldin (knee), Dannell Ellerbe (head) and Marshal Yanda (chest) are all listed as doubtful and are unlikely to play. However, both Boldin and Yanda participated on a limited basis in Friday’s practice. The only in question for the Cincinnati Bengals is DE Carlos Dunlap (hamstring), who is a key component of the team’s pass rush. Early reports are that Dunlap will play on Sunday. The Ravens “questionable” list includes PK Billy Cundiff (calf), DT Cory Redding (ankle) and CB Cary Williams (head). Both SS Bernard Pollard and DT Arthur Jones, who missed practice earlier in the week due to illness, were taken off the injury report altogether and will play on Sunday.
- Without Boldin the Ravens receiving group will heavily feature rookie Torrey Smith who the Bengals struggled to cover in Baltimore’s first meeting against Cincinnati. The rookie had a season best six catches for 166 yards against the Bengals, including a 49-yard catch in single coverage against Nate Clements and a 38-yard touchdown where he split safeties Crocker and Reggie Nelson. However, if the Bengals can put consistent pressure on Flacco and not allow him to have time in the pocket to find Smith and the rotting corpse of Lee Evans then the Bengals will stand a legitimate chance of winning the game.
- The Bengals receiving corp features three talented pass catchers: superstar rookie WR A. J. Green, WR Jerome Simpson and TE Jermaine Gresham. This group will present a tough test for the Ravens secondary. Green and Gresham are both difficult physical matchups reminiscent of Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers who the Ravens utterly failed to cover in Week 15. Ultimately, I expect that the Ravens will cheat most of the coverage to Green leaving opportunities for Simpson. It will be interesting to see if he is capable of taking advantage of these opportunities.
- This game should be extremely close. NFL Advanced Stats gives the Ravens a 52% chance of winning, while gambling outlets see the game as a pick with the Ravens as a favorite in terms of the juice.