The Cincinnati Bengals are hoping to pad their lead in the AFC North division when they take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10. Even though the Ravens have seen their fair share of struggles this season, the Bengals must not take the defending Super Bowl champions for granted. What will be the key to victory for Cincinnati against Baltimore?
It is no secret that the Ravens have been unable to pull it together and put forth consistent performances on offense. For that reason, it is imperative that the Bengals’ defense make it their mission to slow down quarterback Joe Flacco as much as possible. The goal will be to make sure he never takes flight. The best way to do that is to get after him early and often.
Baltimore has allowed Flacco to be sacked 25 times this season, which is good for 11th in the NFL. Ironically, Cincinnati has recorded 25 sacks this year, which ranks 10th in the league.
There is no question Flacco’s safety is a big concern entering the contest. Nobody wants to see the franchise’s star player constantly hitting the ground.
“The quarterbacks have got to get the ball out and they’ve got to find ways to protect themselves with ‘hot’ throws and things like that, too,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said, according to baltimoreravens.com. “Joe does a good job of that. To get to your question, yes, we need Joe to take fewer hits, and we’re going to continue to chase that.”
There will be an epic battle in the trenches that will see both lines fighting for ground. Flacco will be the key to the success of the game for both teams. If the Bengals can limit him then they win. If the Ravens signal caller can find a way to move the chains through the air then Baltimore will be victorious.
One big concern for Cincinnati is that Geno Atkins, the team’s leading sacker with six, is out. That means Carlos Dunlap and other pass rushers will have to step up their game.