Scouting report

November 21, 1999|By Mike Preston

Ravens run offense vs. Bengals run defense RAVENS - Edge

The Ravens love to run and the Bengals can't stop them. Running backs Errict Rhett and Priest Holmes should get plenty of yardage against the Bengals, who are allowing 115.1 yards a game. The Bengals have allowed more than 100 yards rushing in four of their past five games.

Ravens pass offense vs. Bengals pass defense EVEN - EDGE

Both teams are loaded with players virtually no other team wanted. Bengals starting right cornerback Artrell Hawkins is questionable with a sprained left shoulder and could be replaced by either Rico Clark or Roosevelt Blackmon, two cornerbacks picked up off the waiver wire. Look for the Ravens to go after cornerback Ty Howard. Also, expect receiver Jermaine Lewis to rebound after a poor performance last week.

Bengals run offense vs. Ravens run defense RAVENS - EDGE

Bengals running back Corey Dillon hasn't carried more than 16 times or gained more than 81 yards in a game since Cincinnati defeated the Browns, 18-17, on Oct. 10. This is a lopsided matchup in the Ravens' favor. The Bengals have the No. 14 rushing attack based largely on early-season performances, while the Ravens have the No. 3 rushing defense.

Bengals pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense RAVENS - EDGE

The Bengals have solid receivers in Darnay Scott and Carl Pickens, and Pickens will probably make some plays on cornerback DeRon Jenkins. But the Ravens' pass rush will be too much for the Bengals. Safeties Rod Woodson and Kim Herring have improved gradually during the season and will provide ample deep help.

Special teams RAVENS - EDGE

The Ravens have had problems springing Lewis on punt returns, but this could be his breakout game. The Bengals are so concerned about having punts blocked (two blocked, two partially blocked) that they'll stay in longer to protect, giving Lewis some room to run. Ravens kicker Matt Stover had a slow start, but has improved during the year. Ravens punter Kyle Richardson had a bad game last week against the Jaguars, but he'll rebound strong today.

Intangibles BENGALS - EDGE

The Bengals would like to get a win in front of their home crowd, which dwindles every game. They also would like to avenge two losses to the Ravens last season and a lot of the players as well as coach Bruce Coslet are playing for jobs next season. The Ravens need a win desperately because they don't want to start another losing streak heading into two straight games at home.

Prediction RAVENS - EDGE

It has yet to be proved if Brian Billick can coach, but Coslet can't. Ravens, 21-8.

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