The Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens will open their seasons today in Cincinnati at 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. This game will mark the start of a historic season for Cincinnati. Of course, every great season starts with a great game.
Neither Cincinnati, nor Baltimore made the playoffs last year, but the better will definitely be proven in the game to the Bengals. Both in offense and defense they are superior. The Ravens have gone straight downhill since they beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII (Super Bowl 47) back at the tail-end of the 2012-13 season (save for their AFC Championship Game loss on a missed field goal by Billy Cundiff to the New England Patriots at the end of the 2014-15 season).
In the first piece of this series on how the Bengals will have a great year, “Cincinnati is in for history-Part One,” I talked about the promise of their new rookie running back, Joe Mixon. In the second installment of this series, I discussed the improvement of the Jungle’s defense, “Cincinnati is in for history-Part Two.” In the third episode, “Cincinnati is in for history-Part Three,” I discussed how Cincinnati’s offense will be, to quote Mixon, “electrifying.”
This is “Cincinnati is in for history-Part Four:” this is the final chapter of this 4-part showcase. This is about the season opener versus Baltimore and how this will be an easy victory for Cincy.
Starting with the quarterback matchup, Andy Dalton outplayed Joe Flacco last season. While Flacco barely passed him in passing yards and touchdowns thrown, Flacco attempted over over 100 more passes, threw seven more interceptions, gained fewer net yardage gains per pass attempt and passed for fewer yards per play. What this indicates is that, not only is Dalton a superior quarterback, who converts more first downs, but that Baltimore is not capable of running as many successful rushing plays as Cincinnati.
That brings me to my next point: the Cincinnati backfield is great and they make Baltimore’s look like dirt. Baltimore rushed for 1463 yards, ten touchdowns and only 79 first downs. Cincinnati rushed for 1769 yards, 17 touchdowns and they moved the chains 100 times.
As far as defense goes, Cincinnati excelled there, as well. Cincinnati made 17 interceptions, forced six fumbles, recovered 13, 321 tackles assisted, had 33 sacks and 623 tackles. Baltimore had only one more pick, six more forced fumbles and eight more fumbles recovered, but they had 24 fewer tackles assisted, two fewer sacks and 41 fewer sacks.
The final factor is the receiving end of the passing game. The receiving game is basically the same as the passing end of it. Flacco moves the chains less due to how he tries for more attempts for less yardage because the coaching staff has no confidence in the run game, but Dalton moves the chains more by throwing less times for more distance to his stars in A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, Tyler Eifert and Tyler Boyd (and, this year, rookie John Ross), and letting Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard (and, this year, rookie Mixon) take the ball themselves half the time for the rushing side of play.
Last season, Baltimore and Cincinnati played each other twice resulting in a 1-1 season series tie. The Ravens won the first game in Week 12 at home 19-14 and the Bengals took the second matchup in the Queen City 27-10 in Week 17, the last game for either team of the 2016-17 season. Cincy won by a bigger deficit, which pretty definitively proves, alongside the difference in stats and strategy, that the Bengals will start the 2017-18 season on a good note with an easy Week One victory.
With that, concludes this four-part series of articles. The Bengals are set for life at running back, with Mixon, their defense is a brand-new set of skillful players and attitudes, their offense is off the charts amazing and they’ll have an easy start to the new season.