Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Three Players To Watch

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Nov 10, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a pass tipped by Baltimore Ravens safety James Ihedigbo (32) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Darian Stewart (and anybody else trying to contain A.J. Green)

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is a huge headache for opposing secondaries, including that of the Ravens.  Green lit up the Ravens in these team’s first meeting in 2013 with 8 receptions for 151 yards and one touchdown.  In the second meeting he managed 4 receptions for 61 yards and another TD.  And he made the Raven’s safeties look silly in both games, even when double covered.

As Jamison Hensley reminds us, it’s part of the reason why Baltimore completely remade it’s safety unit over the last two seasons, cutting Bernard Pollard in 2013 and letting James Ihedigbo walk this past offseason.  Both have a history of getting roasted while trying to cover Green.  Even Matt Elam got his burn in the second matchup last season when he blatantly tried to hold Green and couldn’t even do that right, giving up a 53 yard touchdown in the process.

Darian Stewart, the current starting free safety, is an upgrade on Ihedigo in coverage.  And really all he needs to do is at least keep Green in front of him, cutting off the big play.  After the Ravens gave up catches of 43, 51, and 53 yards to Green in two games last year, that would be a big step forward.