Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens Prediction, Pick and Preview, October 24 (10/24): NFL Week 7
- Oct 23, 2021, 8:29:06 PM
Credit: photo by Sam Greene/The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services. LLC
|Time||1:00 p.m. EST|
|Bengals money line||+255|
|Ravens money line||-263|
|Over / under||46.5|
2021 season stats
|Road / home record||2-1||3-0|
|Points per game||24.7||28.3|
|Points allowed per game||18.5||20.5|
|Pass yards per game||238||267|
|Rush yards per game||106||155|
|Total yards per game||364||436|
|Total yards allowed per game||331||359|
The top two teams in the AFC North go head-to-head as the Bengals are on the road in Baltimore to face the Ravens. Cincinnati is the surprised second-place team in the division with a 4-2 record. The Bear and the Packers are the only teams to have beaten the Bengals at this point, both times in narrow one-possession victories. The Ravens continue to trend upwards. Since losing to the Raiders in Week 1, they've put together a five-game winning streak including a 34-6 demolition of the Chargers in Week 6. Baltimore is home for the third straight week where they're averaging 33.7 points per game in 3 home games this season.
The Ravens will want to put some distance between them and the chasing North pack but the Bengals will look to join them at the top of the division in the first divisional rivalry for each of these teams in the 2021 season. These teams last met when they ended the 2020 season in a Week 17 matchup at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Baltimore came out with a dominant 38-3 victory and ended the season 11-5 while subjecting the Bengals to a 4-11 record.
Head coach Zac Taylor saw his team have their best offensive output of the season in Week 6 putting up 34 points over the winless Detroit Lions. Joe Burrow threw for three TDs for the second time this season going 19 from 29 for 271 yards. Joe Mixon was unstoppable rushing for 94 yards from 18 carries and adding 59 yards receiving and one TD from five catches. Ja'Marr Chase led the team in receiving with 97 aerial yards as he continues to stake his claim for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Chase is fourth overall in the NFL with 553 receiving yards and joint-fourth with five TD catches. All of Cincy's key offensive players are expected to be fit for the trip to Baltimore. Chris Evans has emerged as a very useful addition to the offense when called upon. He's being used more as a pass-catching back notching 166 receiving yards so far to only 88 rushing yards. Evans could see his workload decreased with Samaje Perine back into the team to face the Ravens.
After career nights for Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrew and Hollywood Brown, the Ravens offensive followed up their remarkable comeback against the Colts by adding another 30+ point game at home. Andrews and Brown led the team in yards with 68 and 35, respectively with only the former getting into the end zone one time. Lamar had a quiet game only throwing 27 times and completing 19 of those attempts for 167 yards and one TD. Latavius Murray left the game with an injury and has already been ruled out of Week 7. The makeshift backfield committee of the Ravens seems to be coming together, however. Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell all shared the workload somewhat evenly. Both Murray and Freeman had nine carries and Bell had eight which was as many as Lamar. In the absence of Murray who had emerged as the team's number one running back, the load will most likely be shared once again although Freeman and Bell most likely will see an uptick in carries.
Cincinnati's defense is actually a top ten defense in the league through six weeks. They rank eighth in yards allowed per game with 331 and fifth in point allowed with 18.5. The victory over Detroit was the team's best defensive effort since holding the Steelers to ten points in Week 3. They even kept the Lions scoreless through the first three quarters. Logan Wilson and Trey Hendrickson are the team's standouts on defense. Wilson's 53 tackles rank tenth overall and his 4 INTs are only behind Trevon Diggs. Hendrickson's 5.5 sacks put him ninth in the league and corner Chidobe Awuzie leads the team with six passes defended; joint-ninth in the league. All their key players are fit for Week 7.
The Ravens are coming off of their best defensive game all season. Their ability to put pressure on Justin Herbert last week was a positive sign for defensive coordinator Don Martindale. The defense is only giving up 20.5 points per game currently which is the seventh-best in the league. In the last three games, they're averaging only 12.7 points per game which is the best in the league in that span. Leading tackler Patrick Queen is listed as questionable after being limited in practice all week. If Queen isn't ready to suit on Sunday, it will be a blow for Baltimore.
The Bengals have been good on the road winning two and losing one and despite that have only been able to put up 30+ once this season against one of two winless teams in the league at the time. The Ravens are completely bullish at home putting up 30+ in each of their home games. Their defense has also looked better in recent weeks as evidenced by their ability to restrict the high-powered Chargers offense to six points last week. Playing at home for the third straight week will also have its advantage for Harbaugh's team. Cincy won't have enough offensive power on the road to hold up in four quarters.
PICK: Ravens spread (-6)
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