And so the trash-talking begins. The Baltimore Ravens-Cincinnati Bengals Wild Card matchup is squaring up to be a testy and aggressive affair between two fierce divisional rivals.
Cincinnati seem to be miffed about certain “dirty” plays coming from the Ravens in Week 18, and Bengals wideout Ja’Marr Chase in particular is ready for some payback.
Baltimore got beat 27-16 in the season finale and played physical all game, though calling the team “dirty” feels like a stretch given the plays in question.
In any case, the Ravens’ inside linebackers, Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith, gave their two cents on the upcoming rematch, relishing the opportunity to play the Bengals again on Sunday.
Ravens are mentally prepared for rematch against AFC North rivals
Both teams were clearly holding back in the regular season finale, but this Wild Card matchup should show much more of Baltimore and Cincy’s offensive playbook.
The big question heading into the playoffs is whether Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will recover from his PCL sprain in time. Jackson didn’t practice on Wednesday and per recent reports is unlikely to suit up for the game.
That leaves Tyler Huntley as the Ravens’ next best option under center, who is still dealing with a shoulder issue and was limited in Wednesday’s practice.
Offense aside, the Ravens’ defensive unit will be prepared to face Cincy’s passing game as morale may be buoyed by Roquan Smith’s recent jaw-dropping extension. Smith and Queen make up one of the most dangerous off-ball linebacker duos in the league, and the rest of Baltimore’s elite defense is littered with dynamic playmakers at every position.
Week 18’s results were heavily skewed since Baltimore gave up three turnovers in the first half; if the offense can play a cleaner game and if the defense bottles up Joe Burrow, the Ravens just might have a shot at an upset.
Cincinnati can whine and complain about “dirty” hits all it wants, but at the end of the day, the Ravens will let their game do the talking.