After the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 18, head coach John Harbaugh had a very nonplussed reaction to an AFC North rematch in the playoffs.
The Ravens secured the No. 6 seed and the Bengals secured the No. 3 seed, which means the two teams will face off again next week in the Wild Card round. Cincinnati gets home field advantage and will host Baltimore at a time to be announced after the Lions-Packers game on Sunday Night Football.
In the Bengals’ 27-16 victory, Joe Burrow and the offense rode in the driver’s seat all game long, and the Ravens threw away their opportunities to narrow the gap with four total turnovers.
Third-string quarterback Anthony Brown had two picks and one lost fumble, and wide receiver Sammy Watkins recorded a fumble late in the game.
Considering the fact that the Ravens opted to rest most of their key starters ahead of the postseason, the Ravens lost with their dignity intact, compared to when they were blown out twice by the Bengals in 2021.
After the game, head coach John Harbaugh answered in typical Harbaugh-fashion that he was indifferent to a Ravens-Bengals rematch in the playoffs and that “it doesn’t matter what my feelings are…. what matters is how we come out.”
Ravens HC John Harbaugh downplays his emotions ahead of Bengals rematch
The Ravens and Bengals will meet in the playoffs for the first time ever in their history.
Baltimore bested Cincinnati earlier this season in a nail-biting 19-17 victory, and Cincinnati balanced the scales with their win on Sunday.
How this impending playoff game will play out will depend on Lamar Jackson’s status, as the Ravens simply can’t afford to turn over the ball as much as they did in Week 18.
The Ravens’ loss should not be pinned on the quarterback position alone as Anthony Brown could only be blamed for one of his turnovers, which was a direct floater to Bengals safety Jessie Bates. Wideout Demarcus Robinson arguably shares the fault for the second interception for struggling to hold onto the ball, and Brown’s lost fumble in the end zone was just poor play-calling by Greg Roman and Harbaugh.
When the Ravens and Bengals meet each other again next week, Baltimore will return to full strength on the offensive side of the ball with J.K. Dobbins, Mark Andrews, and hopefully Jackson back in the lineup.
Harbaugh may not harbor any feelings about this rematch, but if Sunday’s game was any indication, Ravens and Bengals players alike will enter the Wild Card round with emotions running high and a burning desire to eliminate a divisional rival.
May the best team win.