Ravens at Bengals (-9.5)
Ravens 16 - Bengals 27
ATS (Bengals -9.5)
Over/Under (+/- 39.5)
OVER (44 Total Points)
Ravens vs. Bengals Recap January 8th 2023
RAVENS VS. BENGALS RECAP JANUARY 8th 2023 - That could not have gone better.
Everyone knew the Ravens weren’t going to win this game.
But losing by only eleven with a practice squad offense that turned the ball over four times is as much of a win as a loss can be.
From the jump, it was apparent Anthony Brown was in over his head, throwing two interceptions in his first three drives. Both were ugly misfires that were converted into touchdowns by the Bengals.
At the top of the 2nd quarter, the Ravens were down by 17 and it looked like Cincinnati was going to score 60 points. But Brown’s rock-bottom start to the game meant there was nowhere to go but up, and to his credit, he improved.
His funky whip of a throwing motion generates more power than Tyler Huntley’s hyper-traditional style, and although he lost control of the ball more frequently than Snoop, he also applied more pressure on Cincy’s defense.
He completed some tough passes down the field and even developed a back-shoulder repertoire with Sammy Watkins. There’s no doubt it was a careless offensive performance, but it was also more exciting than the typical snooze-fest we’ve been subjected to the past six weeks. The emergence of rookie tight ends Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar was a much-needed lift for an offense that lacks weapons at receiver.
This performance was an encouraging sign that the Ravens’ offense could get back on track with Lamar Jackson under center.
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Baltimore’s defense was put in some tough spots by the team’s turnover-happy offense. The Bengals took over in Baltimore territory twice in the first quarter, forcing the Ravens’ defense to defend a short field.
The front four ravaged the Bengals' offensive line but continuously slid off the impossibly slippery Joe Burrow.
The Ravens’ persistent inability to bring Burrow down in the first quarter was genuinely comical. But just as the Ravens’ offense settled in, so did the defense.
They held the Bengals to only three second-half points thanks to an elite performance from their front seven. Rookie pass rusher David Ojabo made a statement, proving his arrival will be worth the wait by sacking Joe Burrow and forcing a fumble inside the Bengals’ own five-yard line. His rush-mate, Odafe Oweh, didn’t have the same production, but he applied consistent pressure on Burrow.
It was obvious Burrow was uncomfortable, and his sub-60 percent completion percentage is proof. Roquan Smith continues to prove himself as an absolute must-sign this off-season. He was a major reason why the Bengals’ run game amassed a laughable 55 yards and 2.8-yard average.
His pre-snap duels with Joe Burrow are key to shutting down the Bengals’ quick game. This defense matches up well with Cincinnati and they’ll only be healthier in next week’s matchup.
In an era where players are all friends off the field, and likeness and brand-building trumps all, this is a true rivalry.
Whether it be the Bengals’ coin-flip celebration trolling the Ravens or the un-grounded post-game comments complaining about the physicality of the game, it’s apparent that these teams do not like each other.
Everything about the Bengals rubs me the wrong way. Joe Burrow saying the team’s Super Bowl window is “[his] whole career” at the postgame presser while wearing his pompous white turtleneck sweater saturated with the smoke of the locker room cigar he lit up after a regular season game just summarizes everything that irks me about him.
It’s obvious that the Bengals are fat and fed, ready to rest on their laurels and cruise their way to another Super Bowl. But they aren’t ready for the scrappy, pissed-off Ravens team that awaits them in the first round.
Lamar Jackson is going to come back, Omar-from-The-Wire- style, and lead this team of hungry dogs to scratch and claw for their playoff lives next week.
Savor this moment, Bengals fans, because this time next week your team will be watching from the couch as the Ravens advance to the divisional.