Last week, the Ravens beat the previously undefeated Denver Broncos, 30-7, and improved to 4-3. The Ravens got on the board first, with K Steve Hauschka hitting a 43-yard field goal. Then, Hauschka made it 6-0 at halftime, with a 35-yard field goal. On the opening kickoff of the second half, Ravens rookie KR Lardarius Webb returned it 95 yards for a touchdown. But Denver answered, with a 1-yard touchdown run by RB Knowshon Moreno. Next, Hauschka hit again, this time from 31 yards. The Ravens lead 16-7 heading into the fourth quarter. The Ravens got back on the board, with QB Joe Flacco finding WR Derrick Mason for a 20-yard touchdown. And, to put the seal on the deal, Ravens RB Ray Rice found the end zone for a 7-yard TD run. The Ravens defense stepped up to the plate, shutting down a tough Broncos offense, to get the win.
Player of the Game: Ravens RB Ray Rice-84 rushing yards, 24 receiving yards, 1 rushing touchdown
Next Sunday, the Ravens travel to Cinncinati to face the 5-2 Bengals. Back in Week 5, the Bengals beat the Ravens in Baltimore, 17-14, on a late touchdown. In that game, the Ravens defense had trouble stopping the Bengals offense, equipped with QB Carson Palmer, RB Cedric Benson, and WRs Chad Ochocinco and Chris Henry. The Bengals have been nicknamed "the Cardiac Cats," this year, because they keep winning close games. This is a huge game for the Ravens, as a loss means they are two games back in the division. I have the Ravens winning this week, 34-28.
Suggestion: The Ravens must resemble last week's performance against Denver, meaning the defense must step up once again. If they can do that, they can win the game.
Key Matchups for Ravens at Bengals
Ravens QB Joe Flacco vs. Bengals FS Chris Crocker Edge: Flacco
Ravens LT Jared Gaither vs. Bengals DE Robert Geathers Edge: Geathers
Ravens LB Ray Lewis vs. Bengals QB Carson Palmer Edge: Lewis
Ravens CB Dominique Foxworth vs. Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco Edge: Ochocinco
S Haruki Nakamura-Chest-QST
DT Haloti Ngata-Ankle-QST
S Tom Zbikowski-Illness-QST
LB Prescott Burgess-Illness-PRB
TE Todd Heap-Ankle-PRB
LB Jarret Johnson-Shoulder-PRB
LS Matt Katula-Elbow-PRB
FB Le'Ron McClain-Shoulder-PRB
CB Frank Walker-Illness-PRB
OT Andre Smith-Foot-QST
S Roy Williams-Forearm-QST
FB Jeremi Johnson-Knee-PRB
DT Tank Johnson-Foot-PRB
S Tom Nelson-Shoulder-PRB
RB Bernard Scott-Knee-PRB
AFC North Standings
Team W L
Bengals 5 2
Steelers 5 2
Ravens 4 3
Browns 1 7
AFC North Outlook: With a Ravens win, they automatically are in first place, but not alone. If the Ravens win, the are tied with the Bengals. If the Steelers beat the Broncos on Monday Night Football and the Ravens win, they are alone in first place. If the Bengals and Steelers win, they are tied for the division lead. If the Ravens win and the Steelers lose, all three are tied. If the Ravens and Steelers lose, the Bengals are alone in first place.
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!