Majority of Pundits Pick Ravens to Win a Close One
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said on a podcast in May that he loves playing the Ravens, and not just because he threw for nearly 1,000 yards in two wins over Baltimore last season by a combined score of 82-38.
“[The Ravens] talk. I love that,” Burrow said. “[The score] was a lot to a little. I threw for 520-something in the second one and I threw for 400-something in the first one. … Yeah, I love playing the Ravens. They like to talk.”
One subject the Ravens — cornerback Marlon Humphrey in particular — don’t like to talk about is last year’s games against the Bengals. Humphrey’s sole focus is on Sunday night’s meeting with the Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium, which is understandable because it’s a pivotal game for both teams.
One of the consequences of the Ravens losing two games this season they probably should’ve won is that they’ve squandered an opportunity to take control of the AFC North. The defending AFC champion Bengals lost their first two games, but they won their next two and now there’s a three-way tie for first in the division between the Ravens, Bengals, and Cleveland Browns.
“Best game of the week. Whoever loses will be 2-3, while the winner has a lead in the AFC North and a critical win,” Fansided’s Matt Vederame wrote.
A majority of the pundits we sampled (29 of 42) picked the Ravens to prevail. The consensus among those who predicted the score is that the game will be much closer than last year’s Ravens-Bengals contests, as 24 of 26 have it being decided by four points or less.
Here’s a sample of what the pundits are saying about the game:
Lamar Jackson willoutdual Burrow in Ravenswin.
Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith: “Lamar Jackson is playing much, much better than Joe Burrow this season, and that’s going to be the difference on Sunday night.”
Bleacher Report’s Ian Kenyon: “The Lamar Jackson MVP tour continues in Week 5. Ravens should win this by at least a field goal.”
The Baltimore Sun’s Child’s Walker: “Jackson’s legacy will be [the Ravens’] salvation in another close game.”
This will be a statement win for Head Coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio: “This is a John Harbaugh-reminds-us-that-he-is-a-good-coach-game. Backed into the corner, saying all the right things this week, doing all the right things this week, pushing all the right buttons on his players to get maximum performance defensively, offensively, and just finding a way. It’s just getting to the point where it’s embarrassing. They’ve lost five in a row at home — unacceptable for the Ravens; Harbaugh’s not going to let that stand. And, all due respect to [Bengals Head Coach] Zac Taylor, in a contest between Harbaugh and Taylor, I’m taking Harbaugh.”
The Ravens won’t let another victory slip through their fingers.
Sports Illustrated’s Todd Karpovich: “This is almost a must-win, Week 5 game for the Ravens, who have lost five straight games at home. … The Ravens are the most desperate team and this time they finish the game.”
Burrow will lead the Bengals to victory in a shootout.
NFL.com’s Nick Shook: “I didn’t like the Ravens’ chances against the Bills last week because of the way they blew an early, commanding lead over Miami in Week 2. And Baltimore repeated that script in Week 4, letting a 20-3 advantage over Buffalo melt away in the final moments. Two instances is enough to sap my confidence in the Ravens’ defense and its ability to protect a home lead. Cincinnati brings a strong offensive lineup capable of putting points on the board and erasing a deficit if necessary. … Joe Burrow is also quite good on the big stage, averaging the most passing yards (317) per prime-time game among quarterbacks with at least three such starts in their careers since 1970. If we’ve learned one thing about these Ravens, it’s that they’re susceptible to giving up big passing games to opposing quarterbacks in Baltimore. Add in the bright lights, and you’re setting up for a shootout — one I think Burrow can win.”
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: “The Bengals have turned their season around with two straight victories, mostly because the offense has started to play better. That’s not a good thing for a Ravens defense that is struggling. Look for Joe Burrow to win a shootout here with Lamar Jackson. First one to 35 wins. It’s the Bengals.”
Chase will have another big game against the Ravens.
ESPN’s Ben Baby: “Ja’Marr Chase will have more than 125 receiving yards. Baltimore’s defense has struggled, and the amount of damage opposing teams have done through the air bodes well for the Bengals and Chase, who has received extra attention from opposing teams this season.”
CBS Sports’ Will Brinson: “Joe Burrow is starting to cook and the Ravens are a picture-perfect matchup for Cincy — they don’t really rush the passer well and they’re willing to give up big plays on the backend. The Bengals’ offensive line could look good here and I expect a TON of points — this feels like a Ja’Marr Chase blowup spot.”