Mike Preston's matchups: Ravens vs. Bengals

September 18, 2010|By Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

Ravens C Matt Birk vs. Bengals MLB Dhani Jones

Jones is fast and agile, and the key for the Bengals in stopping the Ravens running game. Ideally, the Ravens want to run the ball to keep the ball out of the hands of Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer. Birk is smart and knows how to work the angle blocks. If he can get to Jones on a regular basis, the Ravens should do well running the ball. EDGE: Jones.

Ravens ILB Ray Lewis vs. Bengals RB Cedric Benson

Benson is a grinder, a power runner at the point of attack who has deceptive speed. He has superb body lean when running and rarely losses yards. When the Bengals swept the Ravens last season, Benson rushed for more than 100 yards in each game. He is the key to the Bengals' play-action passing game. Lewis had a strong game last week, and he'll have to have another today. The Bengals do a good job of getting to Lewis and sealing him off. EDGE: Even.

Bengals QB Carson Palmer vs. Ravens safeties Tom Zbikowski and Dawan Landry

The Bengals like to play long ball, and the Ravens are expected to play a lot of two-deep coverage to stop them. Palmer has a lot of weapons, and he is good at play-action fakes. Zbikowski and Landry have to be patient and not let anyone get behind them. They'll also have to help the cornerbacks on the outside. EDGE: Palmer.

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