Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals Preview and Pick – Point Spread

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Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens Pick

Baltimore Ravens (4-3 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS), Week 9, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, November 8, 2009, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio. TV: CBS
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Ravens -3/Bengals +3
Over/Under: 43.5

The Ravens and Bengals both have had an interesting season to say the least. The Ravens started 3-0, then lost three in a row, had a bye, and then blew out the previously undefeated Broncos on Sunday. The Bengals have been one of the surprise teams this season. They started off with a loss to the Broncos on a miracle play in the final seconds. Then, they won four in a row, all by seven points or less. After a loss to the Texans, the Bengals destroyed the Bears, 45-10, and are now coming off a bye. This game is very important to the AFC North standings, as the Bengals are currently tied with the Steelers for first place and the Ravens are a game back.

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer has been very efficient this season, but up until their last game against the Bears he hadn’t been overwhelmingly terrific. But in the win over the Bears, Palmer completely broke out with five touchdown passes to go along with 233 yards on 20-for-24 passing. Four of the touchdown passes were in the first half. Chad Ochocinco, who has had a very good season, had 10 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears. Not only was the passing game working, but Cedric Benson had his best game of the season, running for 189 yards and a touchdown.

Benson, who was leading the league in rushing before the Bengals’ bye week, has 720 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Palmer has 1,608 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Ochocinco has 39 receptions for 573 yards and five touchdowns.

In the win over the Broncos, the Ravens held Denver to 200 total yards of offense. The Ravens won the game on defense. They didn’t do anything special on offense. They got back to traditional Ravens football.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco has been pretty good this season. He has 1,849 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. Willis McGahee was carrying the Ravens running attack early in the season, but now it’s all Ray Rice, who has 525 yards and four touchdowns.

The Ravens and Bengals have the fourth and fifth best run defenses, respectively. Both teams are averaging less than 90 rushing yards allowed per game. The Bengals have the second worst pass defense in the league, allowing 253.3 passing yards per game. But they do have almost as many defensive interceptions (8) as passing touchdowns as allowed (10). The Ravens are allowing 226.1 passing yards per game. They’ve given up nine passing touchdowns while intercepting seven passes.

Both of these teams have solid linebacker cores and have been great against the run. The Ravens have Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, while the Bengals have Keith Rivers and Ray Maualuga. Both teams have solid running games, so it’s unlikely that either Benson or Rice will be completely shut down. However, it’s also unlikely that either running back will dominate. The game could come down to the quarterbacks and turnovers. Both quarterbacks are playing well, but the Bengals have the second worst pass defense in the league. If Flacco can move the ball down the field and the Ravens don’t turn the ball over, they should win the game. The same is true for Palmer and the Bengals. They have to protect the football and Palmer has to get the ball to Ochocinco.

These teams met just four weeks ago and the Bengals won in Baltimore, 17-14. The Ravens were leading late in the fourth quarter, but Palmer through a game-winning touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 22 seconds left. The Ravens rarely ever give up 100 yards to a running back, but Benson ran for 120 yards and a touchdown on the Ravens last time they met.

The Ravens are 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games and 8-4 SU in their last 12 road games. The total has gone over in four of the Ravens’ last five road games. The Bengals are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against the Ravens.

Ryno’s Pick: The Bengals shocked the Ravens with a last-minute touchdown to win the game last time these two teams met. The Ravens are coming off a dominating win over the Broncos after a bye, so Baltimore is playing well with confidence right now. When the Bengals won in Baltimore, Benson had 120 yards and the Bengals still needed a late touchdown to win by a field goal. It’s unlikely Benson will have the same success again against a solid Ravens defense. With revenge and first place on the line, the Ravens will come to play. Take the Ravens -3.