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Ravens Need to Win Against Bengals in AFC North

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals Week 17 Preview

Start Time: Sunday, December 29th 2013 at 1:00pm ET
Stadium: Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
Station: Live on CBS

The Cincinnati Bengals 10-5 (9-5-1 ATS) have already locked up the AFC North thanks in large part to their 7-0 home record. They get to take on the Baltimore Ravens 8-7 (7-7-1 ATS) in an AFC North game that Baltimore needs to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Last weekend the Patriots blew out the Ravens (41-7) on the road and now Baltimore needs help to make the playoffs. Baltimore not only has to win on Sunday, but they have to hope that the Dolphins or Chargers end up losing or else they won’t win the tiebreaker.

BAL @ CIN Point Spread & Over/Under

Odds From Bovada!

The over/under hasn’t moved in this game yet, but the point spread has been edging up in favor of the Bengals. Cincy doesn’t need a win in this match-up and I find it unlikely that they’ll be playing at 100%, so I’m a bit surprised that this spread has been going up.

Can Joe Flacco Lead Baltimore to a Win

Baltimore has been a poor team on the road (2-5), as they’ve only been able to beat the Dolphins and Lions. Those two teams aren’t bad this year and both could make the playoffs, but the Ravens also have losses against Broncos, Bills, Steelers, Browns and Bears.

To say that the Ravens offense has been poor this season would be an understatement. Baltimore has scored 20.2 PPG (26th) and in the last two weeks they’ve only averaged 12.5 PPG. Baltimore’s pass (227.7 PYPG – 19th) and rush (85.4 RYPG – 28th) are struggling.

Apart from a few rough games the Ravens defense has done better than expectations after the turnover they had. They have a T10 defense that allows 21.2 PPG (9th), 226.7 PYPG (11th) and 105.1 RYPG (9th). The defense has to play well or Baltimore is in trouble.

Turnovers have been a problem for Baltimore this season as well. They average 1.3 takeaways per game (24th), but the Ravens 1.7 giveaways per game (19th) have hurt them. Cincy has averaged 1.9 takeaways per game (11th) and will cause Flacco problems.

Defensively the Bengals have a big advantage in this game, as they allow 19.2 PPG (6th), 211.3 PYPG (6th) and 99.8 RYPG (6th). In the 1st game against Baltimore the Bengals lost (20-17) despite holding the Ravens to just 85 rushing yards and 140 passing yards.

In the week 10 game against Cincy, Flacco threw 2 interceptions and he also had 1 fumble. If the Bengals can force multiple TO’s in this match-up they’ll runaway with the game. However, you still have to question how motivated Cincy will be for this game.

Another important factor in this game will be putting pressure on the QB’s. Andy Dalton has been sacked 29 times only while Flacco has been sacked 46 times. Both teams average 2.7 sacks per game, but the Bengals o-line is much stronger than the Ravens o-line.

Fantasy Studs in This Game

A.J. Green is having another monster year. He leads the team with 94 receptions, 1365 receiving yards and 10 TD’s. In the last two weeks he has 190 receiving yards plus the last time these teams met earlier this year Green had 8 catches for 151 yards and 1 TD.

Baltimore’s defense will keep them in this game, but if they want to win Smith has to step up his game. Smith leads the team with 62 receptions for 1101 receiving yards. He averages 17.8 yards per catch, but he has only been able to get in the endzone four times.

Ravens vs. Bengals Best Bet

Since 2011 the Ravens are 5-1 SU against the Bengals and they seem to have their number. With so much on the line for Baltimore and nothing on the line for Cincy I don’t see how this game doesn’t end with a 3-point margin. These teams know each other well.

Baltimore had 3 turnovers in the 1st game against Cincinnati this season and still won. If Flacco can protect the football and Ray Rice can get the run game moving a bit this will be another close game. I like Baltimore to win, but feel much better getting +6 points.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting.

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