Opponent Preview: Cincinnatti Bengals

Posted on November 06, 2007


Week Ten: Cincinnatti Bengals

When: Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
TV: WJZ 13 (Gus Johnson, Steve Tasker)
Radio: 98 Rock (Gerry Sandusky, Rob Burnett, Stan White)

ABOUT THE BENGALS (2-6)

The Bengals are 10-13 against the Ravens, sweeping Baltimore in 1996 and 2005. When the second of the two annual meetings is in Baltimore, the Bengals are 1-3. But that one win was a 27-26 comeback victory that kept the Ravens out of the 2004 playoffs.

Quarterback Carson Palmer recovered from a gruesome knee injury in the 2005 playoffs against Pittsburgh to again become one of the league's elite quarterbacks last season. He hasn't stopped this year, throwing for 2,193 yards with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Three of Palmer's seven career 300-yard games have come against the Ravens, but he did not top that mark in their two meetings last year.

Running back Rudi Johnson has been slowed by injuries this year, so Kenny Watson has taken over to the tune of 412 yards, 4.6 yards per carry and four touchdowns.

Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh leads the team with 62 catches and 10 touchdowns. Chad Johnson has 47 catches and three scores and is questionable after suffering a neck injury against the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday. The two combined for 14 catches and two touchdowns in the win over Baltimore in Week 1.

The offensive line has allowed only 10 sacks despite the injury suffered by right tackle Willie Anderson. Stacy Andrews has taken his spot.

Cincinnati has the league's seventh-ranked offense. The Bengals have tallied 198 points, the ninth highest total leaguewide.

The Bengals have the 31st-ranked defense in the league. Cincinnati has allowed 244 points, second most in the AFC and the third highest total in the league, trailing only Miami and winless St. Louis. It's not because of a lack of trying: 10 of the Bengals' 14 first-day draft picks in the last four drafts have been defensive players.

The Bengals have only 12 sacks in seven games and seventh-round rookie draft pick, ex- Notre Dame safety Chinedum Ndukwe leads the team. Eight different Bengals have one interception each, including cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph, last year's first-round draft pick, and veteran Deltha O'Neal -- a former NFL interception leader. Also with one pick each are former Super Bowl MVP safety Dexter Jackson and ex-Maryland safety Madieu Williams, who was one of only five defensive players to start all 16 games last year. Defensive linemen Robert Geathers -- who had to start at linebacker last week with Ahmad Brooks out -- and Michael Myers got their interceptions in the Week 1 win over the Ravens.

Kicker Shayne Graham is the Bengals' all-time leader at 86 percent accuracy, a number that should go up after hitting 12 of his first 13 field goals this year. However, he hasn't hit a kick longer than 48 yards this year.

Second-year LSU graduate Skyler Green is averaging 4.2 yards per punt return. Another second-year SEC-bred wideout, Kentucky's Glenn Holt, has run back kicks at a 23.6-yard clip with no touchdowns and a long runback of 65 yards.

The punt coverage team yielded a 63-yard punt return score to the Ravens' Ed Reed in Week 1. On kick coverage, opponents are averaging a drive start after kickoffs at the 31-yard line, second worst in the NFL.

PREDICTION:

The Bengals and Colts are the only teams to have won twice in Baltimore since 2002. They know how to play here.

Bengals 20
Ravens 10

Issue 2.45: November 8, 2007

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