First place in the AFC North is up for grabs when the Bengals host the reeling Ravens
The Bengals are a 3-point home favorite in this division matchup with a total of 45,5. The public has backed Cincy, as they opened as a 2.5-point favorite and as of Thursday are a 3-point favorite.
After Week 15 the Ravens are 8-6 and 7-7 ATS and the Bengals are 8-6 and 7-7 ATS.
The Ravens have lost three in a row and in their last game they were at home and lost to the Green Bay Packers 31-30. Baltimore played pretty well in the game and could have won at the end but they failed to convert a 2-point conversion rather than send the game to overtime kicking an extra point.
The Bengals had lost two in a row before their last game where they were on the road and beat the Denver Broncos 15-10. Cincy was outgained 292 yards to 249 yards but played solid defense and forced the only turnover in the game.
Earlier this season in Baltimore the Bengals laid a 41-14 beat down on the Ravens. The road team has covered the spread in five of the last six games between these division rivals.
The Revenge Factor
The Ravens will have some revenge on their minds after getting blown out at home earlier this season
The QB situation is up in the air, as Lamar Jackson has missed the last two and a half games and is listed as questionable for this game. If he cannot go, Tyler Huntley will get another start. He has played well in Jackson’s absence especially in the last game in the loss to the Packers where he passed for 215 yards with two TD and no INT and rushed for 73 yards.
Huntley has rushed the ball well but still hard to replace Jackson, who leads the team in rushing yards. Devonta Freeman (464 yards 4 TD) had rushed for at least 52 yards in three straight games before only rushing for 22 on six carries in the loss to Green Bay.
TE Mark Andrews (1062 yards 8 TD) has at least 115 receiving yards in the last two games. While second leading target Marquise Brown (909 yards 6 TD) has not been bad in the last few games he does not have over 55 receiving yards in the last five games.
The Cincy defense had given up 67 points in two games before only giving up 15 points in the last game. Overall, they rank 26th in the NFL defending the pass and fourth defending the run.
Will There Be an Issue?
The Bengals are at home and need all the home-town support they can get. However, Joe Burrow is in some hot water, as he stated this week that the Bengals have not been as affected by COVID-19 as much as other teams since there is no nightlife in Cincinnati.
Burrow (3,640 yards 26 TD 14 INT) has passed for three TD and no INT in the last two games but has been sacked 14 times in the last three games. He had one of his best games of the season in the upset over the Ravens where he passed for 416 yards with three TD and one INT.
Three WRs for the Bengals have at least 707 receiving yards led by rookie Ja’Marr Chase (1,038 yards 10 TD), who only had one catch in the last game and whose numbers have gone down in the second half of the season.
Joe Mixon (1,094 yards 12 TD) has the second most rushing yards in the league and he has rushed for 58 yards in each of the last two games.
While the Ravens have the top-ranked run defense in the NFL they rank second to last in pass defense.
The Ravens will come into this game with a big chip on their shoulder with the bad home loss to the Bengals earlier this season. I am not sure if Jackson will go but Huntley has played well and so had star TE Mark Andrews. Burrow has been up and down on the season but he has been sacked 14 times in the last three games. Look for Baltimore to get to him in this game and play the run well. They may give up some big plays but the Baltimore offense will do the same. This game will be a close one and the Ravens will, at least, cover the spread.