Week two of Thursday Night Football takes us to Cincinnati for the Bengals’ home opener and they’ll take on a division rival as the Baltimore Ravens come to town. Both teams are coming off of fairly comfortable wins as the Ravens absolutely dominated the Bills and the Bengals pulled off a road win in the return of Andrew Luck
Ravens offense vs Bengals defense
I’ll give this advantage to the Bengals defense. I definitely think the Ravens offense is improved with the additions of Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead to the receiving core. Alex Collins also looks pretty good, but I really like that front seven of the Bengals.
The battle between these two lines however is very close and I could really see it going either way and whoever wins that battle will get the best of this matchup. I just think Geno Atkins and company being at home will make a big difference on a Thursday Night game.
Expect the Ravens to try and establish the running game with Alex Collins to try and set up the play action with Joe Flacco, and if they can do that they can score some points and I actually like the Ravens to put up some yards, but I think they’ll have trouble trying to punch it into the endzone. This will be a really physical battle that will be fun to watch, but I’m not going to get fooled by the Ravens scoring 47 points against the Bills in week one.
Ravens defense vs Bengals offense
It’s also hard to judge the Baltimore defense after week one because the Bills’ quarterback situation is so abysmal, but they do have a lot of the same personnel that they’ve had for a few years now, but they still won’t have Jimmy Smith, as he continues to serve a suspension for the first four games of the season.
The Bengals looked improved in week one on offense, but they were still playing the Colts, who aren’t exactly loaded on that side of the ball. The big thing for the Bengals though is that Joe Mixon does look like a guy who’s ready to become a workhorse back in the NFL and do a very good job of it. The Ravens were also right in the middle of the pack in rush defense last season so it’s reasonable to think the Bengals can get that running game going with Mixon.
The Ravens were top-10 in the league in pass defense a year ago, but with no Jimmy Smith and the Bengals still having guys like Tyler Eifert, who has been productive when healthy, John Ross, who only has one career catch, but it was a TD, and he’s still a speed threat, oh, and A.J. Green, who last week looked like he hasn’t lost a step at all as he enters his 30s.
Those are some good weapons for the Ravens to try and deal with as they don’t have the presence of Jimmy Smith on the outside. Now they still have some quality players in the secondary, lead by Tony Jefferson, not having a guy like Smith will hurt.
Overall I probably like the Bengals offense in this matchup a little more.
Not too hard to break this down. I can’t go against a team in a special teams battle that has Justin Tucker as their kicker.
I think this will be a close game that could very well come down to whichever team can produce more touchdowns when they’re able to get the ball into the redzone. I personally think that will be the Bengals because I like Joe Mixon, but even more so because they have A.J. Green. I think the Bengals will win a close game 20-16.