AFC North Battle Kicks Off Week 2 Action in the NFL
Week 2 kicks off on Thursday evening with an AFC North slugfest between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The were not tested in Week 1 as they cruised to an easy victory against Nathan Peterman and the hapless Buffalo Bills. John Harbaugh’s squad was able to march down the field in their opening drive and finish things off with an 8-yard run from Alex Collins and never look back. The Ravens defense looked dominant and the upgrades on offense certainly helped veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, but things will be more difficult in the “Queen City” against their division rivals.
On the other hand, the had to work much harder to get off to a 1-0 start to their 2018 campaign. Cincinnati trailed 23-10 midway through the third quarter in Indianapolis, but rattled off 24 unanswered points to win by double-digits in the end. Quarterback Andy Dalton was far from outstanding, but he overcame an early interception and was good enough to get the job done. He will need to avoid mistakes versus the Ravens defense if he hopes to lead his team to 2-0.
Before the start of the season, I had the Ravens as a couple of points better than the Bengals on a neutral field, but I think they are being slightly overvalued currently listed as 1-point favorites.This in part is due to an overreaction by the public after the 47-3 win in M&T Bank Stadium last Sunday. Sure, the Ravens have a strong defense, but the Bills were unable to take advantage of the absence of star cornerback Jimmy Smith who was suspended for the first 4 games of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. I anticipate that to be different in Week 2 with A.J. Green lined up on the outside for Cincinnati.
The Bengals are unlikely to move the ball at will, but with a revamped offensive line that now includes left tackle Cordy Glenn and the twenty-first overall pick in the draft in center Billy Price and a plethora of weapons at Dalton’s disposal, they should be able to do enough to outscore a Ravens offense that does not appear to have too many matchup advantages against the Cincinnati defense. I like the Bengals in a close one.