Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 3 things to watch for
2) Passing the test
Would you be surprised to find out that the Ravens defense currently surrenders the 26th most passing yards per game in the NFL this season, giving up 270-yards per contest?
I was surprised to see this, especially considering the defense is fourth in the NFL in points per game so far surrendering just 18.3 a contest. But after stifling Baker Mayfield and the Browns prolific offense in week one, the Ravens have struggled to keep Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, and Dwayne Haskins in check so far this season.
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They have given up just under 700-yards the past two weeks through the air and it has been a bevy of players who have hurt them. The Chiefs game saw tight end Travis Kelce, wide receivers Mecole Hardman, Tyreek Hill, and Sammy Watkins, and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire all go over 60+ receiving yards. Last week it was McLaurin and Gibson rumbling to 200-yards combined receiving.
There are a ton of reasons the Ravens have struggled with their passing defense so far this season but paramount for me is crossing patterns and the screen game. Running backs have feasted on the Ravens in the passing game so far for 24 catches and 223-yards. Tight ends have fared well over the middle of the field as well notching 21 catches for 238-yards and two touchdowns
Enter Joe Burrow and company who had their best game of the season last week notching 33 points. Their offense is uber-talented and running back Joe Mixon combined for 181-yards and three touchdowns last week. At WR, Ravens killers Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green lurk as well as rookie Tee Higgins who had seven catches for 77-yards last week and has impressed so far.
This will be the second biggest test of the season for the Ravens secondary behind their abject failure against the Chiefs. The Browns are rolling on offense now but weren’t ready to go Week One. This Bengals offense seems to be clicking on all cylinders and if their offensive line holds up, they could give the Ravens defense more problems than we might expect.