Bengals at Ravens preview: Cincinnati aims to take control of AFC North in Baltimore

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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) calls a play during an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

The Baltimore Ravens will try to get their first home win of the season Sunday night when they host the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Baltimore (2-2) had a 20-3 first-half lead over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday but allowed 20 unanswered points in the final two and a half quarters and lost 23-20. Coach John Harbaugh was criticized after the game for a call on fourth-and-goal at the Bills’ 2-yard line with the game tied 20-20 and 4:15 on the clock. Instead of taking the short field goal and a 23-20 lead, the Ravens went for it, and quarterback Lamar Jackson was intercepted. The Bills drove down the field and kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired.

Cincinnati (2-2) has won two straight, beating the New York Jets 27-12 two weeks ago and scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter to rally past the Miami Dolphins 27-15 on Thursday night last week. The Bengals’ passing game is starting to click. Joe Burrow threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins. Wide receiver Tee Higgins had seven catches for 124 yards and a touchdown, and Ja’Marr Chase had four catches for 81 yards.

Caesars Sportsbook lists the Ravens as a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 47.5.

Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

Time/TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday, NBC

Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Ravens -3.5

Money line: Bengals +152, Ravens -179

Over/under: 47.5

Analysis: This line opened at Ravens -3.5 and dropped to -3 for most of the week before climbing back to -3.5. The Football Power Index from ESPN gives the Ravens a 51% chance to win, making this basically a toss-up.

This is a great quarterback matchup with two players who are exciting and easy to root for. Burrow is going to avoid the rush and throw the ball all over the field against a Ravens defense that can’t stop the pass. Jackson is going to be a dual threat and likely have at least two rushing plays that gain more than 20 yards and lean on tight end Mark Andrews in the passing game with wide receiver Rashod Bateman unavailable.

Last year Cincinnati was the first team to really attack the Ravens secondary, and it worked. Chase torched the Ravens for 15 catches and 326 yards in the two games they played last year. He’s going to explode for another big game, but it might not lead to a victory. This feels like it’s going to be a high-scoring affair with a lot of ebbs and flows. Taking the Bengals and the points or the over appear to be the right plays here.

Prediction: Ravens 34, Bengals 31

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