Scouting Report

November 08, 2009|By JAMISON HENSLEY

Ravens run offense vs. Bengals run defense: Cincinnati is the fifth-ranked run defense, but the Ravens had success against the Bengals in the earlier meeting, averaging 4.6 yards on 18 carries. Ray Rice, whose rushing yards have increased the past two games, gained 69 yards against Cincinnati last month. He has scored three rushing touchdowns in the past two games. The Bengals have allowed two running backs (Pittsburgh's Willie Parker and Cleveland's Jerome Harrison) to gain more than 70 yards. Edge: EVEN

Ravens pass offense vs. Bengals pass defense: Joe Flacco is averaging 264 passing yards, which is 10th best in the NFL. The Bengals allow 253 passing yards per game, which is third worst in the league. Since throwing a season-high two interceptions against Cincinnati, Flacco has gone 54 passes without throwing a pick. The Bengals have six interceptions in their past three games. Cornerbacks Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph both have three interceptions. Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason will be motivated after not catching a pass against Cincinnati last month. He has four touchdowns in his past five games. The Bengals' top pass rusher, Antwan Odom, is out for the season with an Achilles injury. Edge: RAVENS

Bengals run offense vs. Ravens run defense: Haloti Ngata is questionable with a sprained ankle, but the defensive tackle expects to play. That would be a big boost for the Ravens' run defense, which is going against the NFL's second-leading rusher in Cedric Benson (102.9 yards per game). After rushing for 189 yards against Chicago last Sunday, Benson has six 100-yard games in 17 starts with Cincinnati. The Ravens gave up 120 yards to Benson last month, but they haven't allowed 100 yards to a running back in consecutive meetings since Miami's Ricky Williams in 2002-2003. Edge: EVEN

Bengals pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense: Carson Palmer has been one of the most successful quarterbacks against the Ravens. He has a 7-3 record, throwing 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions (career quarterback rating of 87.3). The key to stopping Palmer is pressure. When defenses have rushed four players this season, he has a 97.6 quarterback rating. When teams rush five or more, his rating drops to 73. Cincinnati wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has also hurt the Ravens, averaging 4.8 catches and 73.5 receiving yards in 17 career meetings. The Ravens' Terrell Suggs will face left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who has allowed only one sack this season. Ravens safety Ed Reed has scored three career touchdowns against the Bengals. Edge: BENGALS

Special teams: Rookie Lardarius Webb provided a much-needed spark to the Ravens' kickoff-return game with a 95-yard touchdown last Sunday. He ranks third in the NFL with a 30.3-yard average. The Bengals rank 18th in kickoff coverage. Ravens kicker Steve Hauschka rebounded to make three field goals in his most recent game. Cincinnati's Shayne Graham has struggled this season, going 6-for-9 (including 4-for-6 inside 40 yards). Both punters rank in the bottom half of the NFL in net average. Edge: RAVENS

Intangibles: The Ravens know a loss would significantly hurt their chances of winning the AFC North. They trail the Bengals and Steelers by one game in the division and have been swept by the Bengals only three times in their 13-year existence (1996, 2005 and 2007). They ended a three-year losing streak at Paul Brown Stadium last season when they routed Cincinnati, 34-3. The atmosphere shouldn't be too daunting since the Bengals needed an extension to sell out the game. Cincinnati is 2-2 at home this season, losing to the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans. The Bengals are coming off their bye, but that hasn't been an advantage for Cincinnati lately. They have lost their past six games after a bye. Edge: RAVENS

Prediction: The Bengals beat the Ravens last month because they wanted it more. This time, the Ravens are the hungrier team. The Ravens will play with the same intensity as last week and make the AFC North race much more interesting. RAVENS, 27-17.

When the Ravens have the ball

Ravens offense

WR: 89 Clayton

LT: 71 Gaither

LG: 66 Grubbs

C: 77 Birk

RG: 65 Chester

RT: 74 Oher

TE: 86 Heap

QB: 5 Flacco

FB: 33 L. McClain

RB: 27 Rice

WR: 85 Mason

Bengals defense

DE: 91 Geathers

DT: 94 Peko

DT: 99 Johnson

DE: 68 Fanene

OLB: 58 Maualuga

MLB: 57 Jones

OLB: 55 Rivers

LCB: 22 Joseph

SS: 31 Williams

FS: 42 Crocker

RCB: 29 Hall

When the Bengals have the ball

Bengals offense

WR: 85 Ochocinco

LT: 77 Whitworth

LG: 66 Mathis

C: 64 Cook

RG: 63 Williams

RT: 74 Roland

TE: 89 Graham

WR: 11 Coles

QB: 9 Palmer

FB: 23 Johnson

RB: 32 Benson

Ravens defense

DT: 92 Ngata

NT: 97 Gregg

DE: 93 Edwards

OLB: 55 Suggs

ILB: 56 Gooden

ILB: 52 Lewis

OLB: 95 Johnson

LCB: 31 F. Washington

SS: 26 Landry

FS: 20 Reed

RCB: 24 Foxworth

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