Week 17 Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 3 bold predictions

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 11: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens scrambles against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on October 11, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 11: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens scrambles against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on October 11, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens need to close out the 2020 season with a win vs. the Cincinnati Bengals to clinch a playoff spot. Here are 3 predictions for the game.

Lamar Jackson eclipses 1,000-yard rushing season:

There’s some NFL history on the line for Lamar Jackson this week against the Cincinnati Bengals. Jackson could become the first quarterback to rush for 1,000-yards in multiple seasons, let alone back-to-back years. To attain this, Jackson will need to amass 92-yards on the ground, which is more than attainable for the league’s best running quarterback. While he won’t necessarily need to do this to win the game for the Baltimore Ravens, the team is no doubt betting on and cheering for Jackson to reach this mark.

The matchup is certainly a favorable one for Jackson to achieve this mark. The Bengals are 25th in the league in rushing YPG this year, allowing 130.9 YPG and a whopping 4.8 YPC. The Ravens in turn are the league’s number one rushing offense with an average of 177.8 YPG. These two stats should illustrate just how big the run game will be included tomorrow.

Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins are 37 and 55-yards away from 700 rushing yards respectively on the year, so I expect Baltimore to give them the touches needed to get that number. As for Jackson, look for Greg Roman to give him as many opportunities as possible to make NFL history.

The defense gets five sacks and two turnovers:

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The Ravens defense has been playing some classic “bend but don’t break” football lately. The unit is currently ninth in the league in total YPG and fourth in PPG, but you wouldn’t think that if you watched the games themselves. Opposing teams seem to march up and down the field with relative ease despite the amount of talent this defense has. That changes this week.

The Bengals are not a very good offensive team, especially after Joe Burrow went down a couple of months back with an ACL injury. Their offense is 28th in total YPG and 27th in PPG. The offense has been banged up all year and short of Tee Higgins and Giovani Bernard there have been very few positives to speak of. With Ryan Finley leading the charge, I don’t expect them to accomplish much. This will end up leading to a lot of big plays defensively, including a bunch of sacks and a couple of big turnovers. It’s likely to be a blood bath.

It helps that Baltimore is banking on this defense to help win this game big time and I believe they will turn in an A+ performance against an underwhelming Cincinnati offense. It’ll be suffocating for Bengals fans to watch and amazing for Ravens fans in turn.

Baltimore dominates in all three phases of the game:

We touched on how the Ravens offense will run over the Bengals defense and how the Ravens defense will suffocate the Bengals offense, so all that’s left is special teams play. It will be tough to not have Sam Koch for the first time since 2005, which is unbelievable in itself, but recent signee Johnny Townsend can get the job done for at least a week. I have a feeling that he won’t be called upon very much, however.

Meanwhile, Baltimore still has Justin Tucker and his automatic leg to be as reliable as they come for field goals when the offense stalls out occasionally. Naturally, he won’t miss many PATs, either. The biggest aspect I think will be a difference-maker in this game will be in the return game, where I expect Devin Duvernay to explode. Duvernay started returning punts last week and has already enjoyed as much if not more success than the previous return man, James Proche. Duvernay was already electric on kick returns and now he’ll get more opportunities as a punt returner. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a housecall this week.

Next. The rest of the Baltimore Ravens 2020 season rests on Lamar Jackson. dark

As a whole, I expect the Baltimore Ravens to dictate exactly how this game goes. Don’t look for the Ravens to pull any punches in a game that matters more than ever. Look for Baltimore to hold it down in all three phases of the game and embarrass the Cincinnati Bengals.

Final score prediction: 34-14 Ravens