Scouting report

September 27, 1998|By Mike Preston

Ravens run offense vs. Bengals run defense

The Ravens have the league's 20th-ranked run offense, averaging only 105.0 yards a game. So far, the offensive line has been dominant only in the season opener against Pittsburgh. The Ravens may not get much again today because the Bengals have some active linebackers in James Francis, Takeo Spikes and Reinard Wilson. The Bengals aren't great against the run, but the Ravens have been worse in trying to establish a consistent rushing attack. -- EDGE, BENGALS

Ravens pass offense vs. Bengals pass defense

If the Ravens stretch the Bengals' defense and throw some intermediate- and long-range passes to Michael Jackson, Jermaine Lewis and tight end Eric Green, this is no contest because they have too much talent for the Cincinnati secondary, particularly cornerbacks Ashley Ambrose and Artrell Hawkins, a rookie. -- EDGE, RAVENS

Bengals run offense vs. Ravens run defense

The Bengals haven't been able to get their rushing game untracked even when Corey Dillon is healthy. The Bengals have the No. 28 rushing attack in the league, but might get some yardage today because Ravens tackle Tony Siragusa is bothered by a neck injury and middle linebacker Ray Lewis is out with a dislocated elbow. But even without Lewis, the Ravens have enough to slow the Bengals. -- EDGE, RAVENS

Bengals pass defense vs. Ravens pass defense

Defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis needs to decide if he's going to use a zone-blitz scheme or employ a bend-but-don't-break approach. The Ravens have to put pressure on Bengals quarterback Neil O'Donnell because receivers Carl Pickens and Darnay Scott are more than capable of beating cornerbacks Rod Woodson and DeRon Jenkins. The Ravens' cornerbacks need to be more aggressive instead of allowing teams to catch those 12- to 15-yard curl routes. -- EDGE, EVEN

Special teams

Neither kicker has been outstanding, and Cincinnati punter Lee Johnson has a slightly better average than Kyle Richardson. Ravens punt returner Jermaine Lewis is more of a game-breaking threat than Damon Gibson, but the Bengals have done better on kickoff returns. -- EDGE, EVEN

Key matchup

Ravens middle linebacker Tyrus McCloud vs. Dillon: Filling in for Ray Lewis, McCloud will be making his first start this season and is a very physical player. Dillon has to gain yards on the ground to take some of the pressure of O'Donnell. -- EDGE, BENGALS


Both teams are 1-2 and another loss puts either in a big hole. But the Ravens turned in a dud last Sunday against Jacksonville, and a home game on national TV should help them rebound. --



The Ravens need to win two straight -- this week and Oct. 11 vs. Tennessee -- before facing Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Jacksonville. Ravens, 24-20. -- EDGE, RAVENS

Keys to a Ravens victory

1. The Ravens have to blitz quarterback Neil O'Donnell, who has been known to melt under pressure.

2. The Ravens need to score early to gain some confidence and get the crowd into the game.

3. The Ravens need to cut down on special teams penalties, which were costly last week.

Pub Date: 9/27/98


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