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By Tom Wilkinson

NFL Preview – Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals

It is an early battle for first place in the AFC North on Thursday night, as the Baltimore Ravens visit the Cincinnati Bengals on NFL Network. Both teams are coming off wins in Week 1, as the Ravens humiliated the Bills, while the Bengals slipped past the Colts. Oddsmakers are giving the Ravens a lot of credit for their win last week, as Baltimore is listed as a slight road favorite. Let’s look at this Week 2 matchup and NFL picks.

Date and Time: Thursday, September 13, 2018, 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
NFL Odds at BetDSI: Ravens -1, O/U 44
Ravens vs. Bengals TV Coverage: NFL Network

The Ravens destroyed the Bills last week, winning 47-3, while the Bengals defeated the Colts 34-23. Baltimore definitely benefited from playing a bad Buffalo team that doesn’t have an NFL caliber quarterback on their roster. The Ravens also look to be much better on offense than they were a year ago. Joe Flacco went 25-of-34 for 236 yards and three touchdowns in the win.

The Bengals were fortunate to get past the Colts last week, as they returned a fumble for a touchdown late in the game when Indianapolis was driving for a potential winning score. Andy Dalton was 21-of-27 for 243 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Dalton didn’t play well last season when the Bengals hosted the Ravens, as he threw four interceptions in a 20-0 loss.

It is always dangerous to read too much into a Week 1 performance, but that appears to be what the oddsmakers and the public are doing. The Bengals should present a much stiffer test than the hapless Bills. Cincinnati has the defense to give Flacco trouble, as they boast Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and linebacker Nick Vigil. The Bengals also have some good playmakers on offense in A.J. Green and Joe Mixon.

Revenge Angle

There are not that many big revenge games in the NFL, but you have to think that Thursday night’s game will be one of them. The Ravens hosted the Bengals last week in their regular season finale and just needed a win to make the playoffs. Baltimore couldn’t get it, as Dalton and the Bengals knocked the Ravens out of playoff contention. The Bengals put up 31 points against the vaunted Baltimore defense in that contest and won 31-27.

Baltimore defensive tackle Chris Wormley said to the media before the season that “[The game] will always be in the back of our minds.” Linebacker Terrell Suggs called the loss one of the worst ever for him. “It’s like a bad dream,” Suggs said to the media last year. “Fifteen years as a Raven, I would have to say this one is definitely the most devastating. I’ll remember this one forever.”

Key Stats

The Bengals have done well in this series of late, winning 7 of the last 10, with three of the last four going under the total. The Ravens did win in Cincinnati last season, but even with that win they are just 3-7 SU in the last 10 at Cincinnati. Five of those ten went under, four went over, with one push. Baltimore has gone over the total in five of their last seven road games.

Ravens vs. Bengals Picks

The Thursday night matchups this season are actually pretty good and we start with a rivalry game in the AFC North. The Ravens couldn’t have looked any better than they did last week, but we shouldn’t take too much of that game considering they played the Bills. The Bengals were actually fortunate to come away with a win against the Colts, as they were outplayed for much of that contest.

I don’t get too carried away with revenge angles that often, especially in the NFL, but I do think the Ravens will have the emotional edge and want to get revenge for that loss to the Bengals that knocked them out of the playoffs. I will take the Ravens in this contest.

Ravens vs. Bengals Pick: Ravens -1 at BetDSI
Ravens vs. Bengals Score Prediction: Ravens 23, Bengals 20

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