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Bengals To Edge Out Ravens In AFC North Battle

September 12, 2018

The Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens both enjoyed victories on the opening day of the 2018 NFL season.

The Bengals came from behind to defeat the Indianapolis Colts on the road. Clayton Fejedelem was the hero for the visitors as he forced a fumble from Jack Doyle before returning the 83 yards for a touchdown.

Baltimore crushed the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens put 47 points on the board, cruising to their first win of the campaign.

Both quarterbacks were on point for their sides. Andy Dalton threw an early interception, but was able to bounce back with two touchdown passes to guide his side to a comeback win.

Joe Flacco found his rhythm, notching three touchdown strikes to guide the Ravens to a dominant win. The Ravens’ defense look a formidable unit in their bid to return to the post-season for the first time since 2014.

The Bengals denied Baltimore a place in the playoffs when Dalton connected with Tyler Boyd with seconds remaining in their last match of the 2017 term. Revenge will be firmly on the minds of John Harbaugh’s men at Paul Brown Stadium.

Can Dalton lead the Bengals to victory?

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals found themselves in a scrap in week one of the campaign. However, Marvin Lewis’ men dug deep to pull out the win, with Fejeldem making the play to secure the contest on the road. Cincinnati were a mediocre outfit last term. Victories like their one over the Colts proved that there is hope that the club can turn the corner and make the post-season. It is imperative that they are able to back up their performance with a victory in the AFC North on home soil.

Dalton overcame his early mistake against Indianapolis, which would have calmed nerves in the Bengals’ camp. He has been hit and miss throughout his career therefore it would not be a surprise to see him slump against a talented Ravens defense. He did have their number in the final game of the last campaign throwing a touchdown strike to Boyd to snatch the victory.

The 30-year-old has the downfield weapons with AJ Green picking up from where he left off last season. John Ross notched the other touchdown alongside Green against the Colts, suggesting that he could breakout after a disappointing rookie term. With Green, Ross and Boyd along with Tyler Eifert, the Bengals have one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL. Joe Mixon was able to churn up the yards on ground in the opener. His progress will be fascinating as should he rise to the occasion, Cincinnati will be very hard to quell throughout the campaign.

Defensively the Bengals did have issues coping with Andrew Luck. Shawn Williams was ejected from the game for a late hit against the quarterback. However, his team-mates were able to eventually stem the tide, with Fejeldem making the crucial play at the end of the game. They have talent at all three levels of the defense, led by a potent defensive line that includes Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. They will limit the Ravens where the Bills failed in the opener.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens capitalised on the weakness of the Buffalo Bills, pouring on the agony for the AFC East outfit in the opener. Baltimore made a statement with their victory that their struggling offense seems finally capable of putting points on the board. The club put pressure on quarterback Flacco by drafting Lamar Jackson in the first round of the 2018 Draft. He responded with a fine performance in the opener, notching three touchdowns without committing an interception. Flacco’s form has been poor since he guided the Ravens to the Super Bowl in the 2012 campaign. In that post-season he was exemplary, becoming the crucial element in Baltimore’s success.

The 33-year-old’s week one performance suggests that he could find that level again, although bigger challenges lay ahead starting with the Bengals in their first divisional match. Baltimore have altered their receiving corps for the campaign. Three of their new wideouts Wille Snead, John Brown and Michael Crabtree all found the endzone. It will be interesting to see whether they can remain a threat downfield or whether they simply capitalised on Buffalo’s issues in the opener.

The Ravens’ defense has been the strength of the team since their formation in 1996. This season appears to be no different as they were dominant against Buffalo, tormenting Nathan Peterman. Tavon Young had two sacks from cornerback, while Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith also got to the Bills quarterback. Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson both notched interceptions, proving that all three units of the defense were working well. Dalton will test their ability, while Green has proven to be handful throughout his career. Stopping the passing game will be imperative to hand the Ravens a crucial lead in the division. It was their downfall last term against Cincinnati – it cannot happen again.

Betting Options

The Bengals dug deep to defeat the Colts, making a play on defense when they needed it the most. Lewis’ men were good enough, while there’s plenty of room for improvement from the team. Baltimore were handed a gift out of the gate against the Bills, who will likely be the worst side in the NFL this season. It’s hard to judge their performance on that basis. They’ve had issues against the Bengals in the past therefore Cincinnati should be able to get the win in their home opener given the short week. Back them at odds of -118  on the moneyline at BetOnline, while take the Bengals on a -3 spread at 23/20  with 888Sport.

Both teams were able to score points in the opener, but expect this game to be a more defensive contest. Take the under on 44 points to be score at odds of -108  with BetOnline. Ross scored his first NFL touchdown for the Bengals in the opener. Back him to do so again at odds of 11/4 , while take Green to record over 76 receiving yards at 41/50  with 888Sport. CJ Mosley is a tackling machine and will be at the heart of the Ravens’ defense once again for more than seven tackles at 17/20 , while on the other defense take Dunlap to notch a sack of Flacco at 21/20  with 888Sport.

Tips Summary

Cincinnati Bengals To Beat Baltimore Ravens
Thursday 13th September 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 14th September 2018 01:20 BST)
Odds: -118

Take -3 Spread Cincinnati Bengals
Thursday 13th September 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 14th September 2018 01:20 BST)
Odds: 23/20

Under 44 Points To Be Scored
Thursday 13th September 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 14th September 2018 01:20 BST)
Odds: -108

John Ross To Score Touchdown Anytime
Thursday 13th September 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 14th September 2018 01:20 BST)
Odds: 11/4

AJ Green To Record Over 76 Receiving Yards
Thursday 13th September 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 14th September 2018 01:20 BST)
Odds: 41/50

CJ Mosley To Record Over Seven Tackles
Thursday 13th September 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 14th September 2018 01:20 BST)
Odds: 17/20

Carlos Dunlap To Record One Sack Or Over
Thursday 13th September 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 14th September 2018 01:20 BST)
Odds: 21/20

  • Andy Dalton
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Joe Flacco
  • NFL

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.