RAVENS (1-0) AT BENGALS (1-0)
Line: Pick ‘em; Over/Under: 44 1/2
TV: NFL Network, 8:20 p.m.
Baltimore’s biggest rival is Pittsburgh, but last season it was another AFC North foe that ended its season: Cincinnati.
The Bengals, with nothing to play for in Week 17 other than Marvin Lewis’ supposed last game, kept the Ravens out of the playoffs with a thrilling 31-27 win in Baltimore. It was capped by Andy Dalton’s 49-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute left. It was payback for the Ravens spoiling the Bengals’ home opener in Week 1, a 20-0 pasting.
Now, it’s the Ravens seeking Ravenge.
The teams have met 44 times, with each team winning 22. Cincinnati has won seven of the last nine, including four of the last five at home.
This game is a toss-up, but the slight edge goes to the home team. The Bengals looked good in a Week 1 road win at Indianapolis, rallying from 23-10 down to win 34-23. Andy Dalton has weapons in A.J. Green and speedster John Ross, as well as Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard out of the backfield. With Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith suspended, look for Dalton to take some deep shots downfield.
The Ravens beat the Bills, 47-3, at home on Sunday in what was essentially a fifth preseason game it was so lopsided. Joe Flacco has a power running back in Alex Collins and new receivers, but Baltimore’s offense has had a tendency to sputter in recent seasons.
Thursday Night Football games are the toughest to pick, what with the short week and injury concerns. The Bengals are unpredictable, too. The week you pick them, they’ll let you down, and then the week you go against them, they’ll put it all together. Here’s hoping they pick up where they left off in Baltimore last year in Week 17 and produce another close win.
The pick: Bengals
Bob Glauber: Bengals
Tom Rock: Bengals
Al Iannazzone: Bengals