The Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) have won two straight games and are coming off an electric Thursday night win over the Miami Dolphins. The entire AFC North suffered losses Sunday, and as we stand, the Division is neck and neck one through four.
AFC North Standings After Week Four
Cleveland Browns 2-2 (1-0 AFC North)
Baltimore Ravens 2-2 (0-0 AFC North)
Cincinnati Bengals 2-2 (0-1 AFC North)
Pittsburgh Steelers 1-3 (1-1 AFC North)
The Bengals head into a highly anticipated matchup on Sunday Night Football against AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens (2-2), who are coming off a 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens looked dominant in the 1st half, at one point leading 20-3 and forcing two turnovers. However, they did not score in the second half, and Josh Allen and the Bills’ defense were able to close the gap and win the game with a game-winning kick in the final seconds.
The Bengals and Ravens are both remotely healthy, so this one should be a very intriguing game. The Ravens did not like how the Bengals won those matchups last season. They felt a little disrespected. However, the same could be said about the Bengals the year prior when the Ravens dominated. So there is a lot of bad blood between these two teams. It is AFC North football, so it is not shocking, but this one is big.
Since Week one, Lamar Jackson has been an MVP-level candidate, and Joe Burrow has been one of the better and more consistent QBs. But with these two on the field, this should be an interesting one to watch. Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow have only played each other two times. Once in 2020 before Burrow got hurt and then once in 2021 before Jackson got hurt. They are 1-1. Jackson won in blowout fashion two years ago, and Burrow won dominantly last season.
Lamar Jackson & Joe Burrow Current Stats
*courtesy of espn.com
Lamar Jackson: 893 yards, 11 TDs, four interceptions, 72.5 QBR, 65.0 CMP%
Joe Burrow: 1,099 yards, 8 TDs, four interceptions, 49.5 QBR, 64.1 CMP%
Burrow’s week one performance has hurt his overall numbers, but he has improved drastically. He has not turned the football over since Week one and has a much better completion percentage and QBR. Lamar Jackson has been excellent throughout the season. However, he struggled against the Bills, especially in the second half.
Bengals And Ravens Defense
The Bengals’ defense usually starts games slowly. However, it still has not been that bad as a whole. The Bengals’ defense has not allowed a single touchdown in the second half this season. They went 23 consecutive drives, forcing a turnover, a punt, or a field goal. Cincinnati did lose a significant piece with DJ Reader, their best interior defender, but Josh Tupou, who is stepping into a much more substantial role, did a great job against the Dolphins.
The Ravens’ defense has been polar opposites. The Ravens’ defense has been incredible to start games in the 1st half and come out of the gates firing on all phases. Although, they have struggled drastically in the 2nd half. They have blown 21 and 17-point games in the 2nd half in both losses this season.
This is precisely why this will set this game up to be one to keep an eye on and watch. The game will be played in Baltimore and will kick off at 8:15 ET on NBC. While the Steelers take on the Bills and the Browns take on the Chargers across the division landscape. This will be the Ravens’ first division game of the year.