There’s one game left in the 2013 NFL season for the Baltimore Ravens, that one game being against the recently hot Cincinnati Bengals. Sitting at 8-7, the Ravens still have a chance to grab a playoff berth in week 17, with much of their destiny falling into their own hands.
If the Ravens can beat the Bengals on Sunday, it greatly increases their chances of making it to the postseason. If Baltimore grabs a victory, they only need the San Diego Chargers or Miami Dolphins to lose in their week 17 games. If Baltimore loses, though, the Ravens will need Miami and San Diego to lose as well as a loss or tie from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Essentially, life will be much easier and straight-forward for the Ravens if they pick up a victory on Sunday.
However, beating the Bengals isn’t going to be an easy task for Baltimore, largely due to the play of their offensive line.
The Ravens’ offensive line has been a huge disappointment this season. Though Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce haven’t looked good this season in their own right, the offensive line’s ability to effectively block in the running game hasn’t helped anything either. Moreover, the offensive line has allowed quarterback Joe Flacco to be sacked 46 yards for a loss of a total of 307 yards this season.
When you couple the Ravens’ weak offensive line play this season with the fact that the Bengals have the sixth best run defense in the league this season and have a solid pass rush—even with some injuries to key players on that side of the ball—it could get ugly for the Ravens. Baltimore really controls their own destiny, but they might have a hard time maintaining a handle on it when they take the field on Sunday.