Ravens @ Bengals: 5 Key Matchups

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by douhua2233 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:01 am

Ravens @ Bengals: 5 Key Matchups The Baltimore Ravens travel to Cincinnati on Thursday with an opportunity to claim an early lead in the race for the AFC North title. John Harbaugh’s club will be out for revenge after the Bengals ended their playoff aspirations in heartbreaking fashion last season. Following their beatdown of the Bills http://www.ravensfootballauthentics.com/nick-boyle-jersey-authentic , oddsmakers have installed Baltimore as one-point favorites despite the challenges of a divisional road game on a short week.The Ravens are 6-9 on the road over the last three seasons but 2-0 on Thursday night and 10-5 since 2016 when the point spread is a field goal or less. Marvin ImageLewis’ Bengals are just 5-12 as an underdog recently, yet 14-8 all-time when hosting the Ravens.Expect a hard fought battle that will ultimately be determined by these five key matchups:QB Joe Flacco vs FS Jessie BatesFlacco has historically struggled against Marvin Lewis’ defense. Through 19 career games, he has thrown more interceptions (23) than touchdowns (19), including 13 picks compared to 10 scores since the Super Bowl. Joe will aim to replicate his efficient showing from Week 1 against a more talented defense.Cincinnati will likely utilize a heavy dosage of zone coverage against John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead because beyond William Jackson, their corners are vulnerable. The second-round rookie, Bates, has the range and ball skills to make the veteran quarterback pay for mistakes into his zone. It is unlikely the Ravens will earn the road win if they lose the turnover battle.CB Marlon Humphrey vs WR A.J. GreenRavens safeties Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle will be tested by Tyler Eifert, yet A.J. Green is the receiver the Ravens fear most. Green led Cincinnati with 92 yards and score in Week 1 and tortured Baltimore’s defense earlier in his career. Lately, the secondary has bottled up Green for the most part, but he remains one of the top downfield playmakers in the game.Enter Marlon Humphrey, the second year corner turned in an excellent game against Kelvin Benjamin on Sunday. Using Humphrey to mark John Ross may seem like a better option due to his speed. However, isolating Marlon on Green will allow coordinator Martindale to devote the necessary resources towards damage control against Eifert and pass-catching back Joe Mixon in the middle of the field.RB Buck Allen vs LB Jordan EvansEvans serves a crucial role as the Bengals primary coverage linebacker, especially while Vontaze Burfict serves his latest suspension. Evans played well in the December meeting between these divisional rivals, but had an inconsistent season overall. He can be exposed in coverage against tight ends and tailbacks.Allen is quietly emerging as a reliable chain-mover out of the backfield. Buck appears quicker and more elusive this season and may eventually lead the team in receptions. Assuming the Bengals pass rush comes to play, Baltimore will need Allen in the short passing game to help the offense stay on schedule.OLB Matthew Judon vs RT Bobby HartJudon is aiming to build on his breakout eight sack sophomore campaign. Thus far, he has not flashed as much as some of the other young pass rushers on the depth chart. Yet with Terrell Suggs lined up across from competent tackle Cordy Glenn, Judon will need to help apply pressure on Andy Dalton.Fortunately Youth Maurice Canady Jersey , Bobby Hart is merely a below average journeyman. Against Indianapolis, Hart allowed five pressures and two sacks against mediocre competition. Judon can use his motor and strength to bully Hart. The Ravens need a strong showing from their edge rushers, they do not want to allow Dalton to find his rhythm.RT James Hurst vs DE Carlos DunlapOn paper, this head-to-head matchup clearly favors Dunlap. The Pro Bowl edge rusher has amassed nine career sacks against Baltimore, including three during their last four contests. He posted a pass deflection, sack and another crushing hit on Andrew Luck in his 2018 debut. On the other side of the ball, James Hurst has not proven to be an effective tackle throughout his career. And the Ravens cannot afford to slide protection away from All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins, as he is fully capable of beating even Marshal Yanda one-on-one. Coordinator Monrhinweg must devise a gamelan that helps Hurst with chip blocks and moves the pocket to prevent Dunlap from causing havoc in the backfield. Score prediction: Bengals 23, Ravens 20 The 2-1 Baltimore Ravens will travel to Pittsburgh for Sunday Night Football to take on the 1-1-1 Steelers for a crucial Week 4 matchup. As the first quarter of the season rounds out, the contest will be a barometer type game for the division and will set the narrative for who will be favored to take the AFC North.Both teams are coming off of big offensive performances, with the Steelers winning a shoot out in Tampa Bay, and Baltimore taking care of business at home against the Broncos. With Pittsburgh’s defense getting off to a rough start, and Baltimore’s offensive attack looking better to start the season than they have in recent years, there is reason to believe this will be an offensive type game with good fantasy plays across the board.Start: QB Joe Flacco Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty ImagesThere are several factors contributing to what is looking like a mid-career renaissance for the 33-year-old veteran and Super Bowl MVP. Chief among them are his improved health, motivation in the face of his first ever position competition, and maybe most of all, his new collection of surrounding skill talent.Individually, the Ravens receivers http://www.ravensfootballauthentics.com/alex-collins-jersey-authentic , running backs and tight ends would not scare many NFL defenses. As a unit though, they mesh pretty well and are a perfect fit for what Flacco wants to be as a quarterback.Given that the offensive game plan is centered on spreading it around and Flacco is off to ahot start, look for him to put up some points for you as a QB1 this week. Sit: Ravens skill positionsPhoto by John Grieshop/Getty ImagesThe reason Flacco is having a rebound year (and is this week’s start) is also the same reason you should avoid Baltimore’s skill guys. It is not that any of them are off to a bad start, but the opposite.All of them, including the backs and tight ends, have proven to be complementary pieces that Flacco and offensive coordinator Marty Morninwheg are comfortable targeting. That unpredictability in utilization is what makes any of them (including guys like John Brown and Michael Crabtree) avoidable plays as the offense continues to mesh.Start: WR’s JuJu Smith-Schuster and James WashingtonDouglas DeFelice-USA TODAY SportsAntonio Brown is an obvious WR1 and a good bet to continue to haunt the Ravens, especially with Jimmy Smith out of the lineup. The flip side of that is Baltimore’s coaching staff may be determined to keep Brown under wraps and bracket him with double and triple coverages.Unfortunately, there are only so many defensive resources to go around, and with a lot of them committed to Brown, other players will have room to break out. Smith-Schuster is a known quantity who is bound to be owned in a decent percentage of leagues, while Washington is more likely to be available. Either receiver is a solid play against the softer spots in the Ravens D.Sit: Pittsburgh’s defenseDouglas DeFelice-USA TODAY SportsAfter a big time first-half performance last Monday, the Steelers defense is expected to continue to take the ball away. As opportunistic as they were though, they were still gashed as they have been all season, and this could very well happen again Sunday night. Baltimore’s revamped O represents a bit of a bigger test than the Ryan Fitzpatrick led Buccaneers. They are a big time sit this week, especially if you need a plus performance out of them.
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