Can Cincinnati Bengals win against the Baltimore Ravens week 17

Will the Cincinnati Bengals make the spread against the Baltimore Ravens in week 17?

This is a very interesting AFC North matchup. The Division Champions Ravens face the 2nd place Bengals in their final game.

It’s ironic that these two teams met in the season opener also, with the Ravens winning that game 44 to 13. If we compare the way these two teams played in the beginning of the season to the way they have each played the past few weeks we see completely different stories.

Baltimore certainly had a little better start then they are playing now and Cincinnati is just the opposite. Normally the best judge of how a team is currently playing is their recent games. The Ravens have lost 3 of their last 4 games and the Bengals have won 3 of their last 4 games.

This shows a major improvement by the Bengals and they have come from behind and moved into a playoff spot that many thought they could not earn just weeks ago. On the other hand, Baltimore, after having a 9 and 2 start has been slipping this past month. Just weeks ago it appeared the Ravens would be earning a first round bye but are now in the 4th seed position. They have clinched the Division Title as well as the playoff spot.

The AFC playoff picture does not change with this weeks games as far as which teams are in or not, but depending on the outcome of this weeks games, it may affect which football teams earn the bye week. Neither of these two teams is in a position that could earn them the bye, but the outcome will affect who they meet in the wild card games.

The Ravens have a better record, can they win against the Bengals?

No I do not think that Baltimore will win this game. They have been a bit beat up and have suffered a number of injuries. They have lost line backers, defensive ends, as well as running backs and wide receivers.

The ranking of each of their offenses are fairly close. Baltimore has an overall rank of 15th with 13th for passing and 15th on the ground. Cincinnati has an overall rank of 20th with 16th for passing and 14th for rushing.

When we compare the rankings of the defenses we see a slightly different picture. Overall the Ravens defense is ranked 20th, they are ranked 17th against the pass and 24th against the ground game. The Bengals have an overall 6th ranked defense and are 10th against the passing game and 8th against the rush.

Will this be the edge that the Bengals need to conquer? I think this is part of why their overall game will be better. The Bengals have intercepted their opponents passes 13 times this year so that is a bit of a threat. But even more of a threat is the fact that they rank 2nd in sacks.

Cincinnati has sacked their opponent’s quarterback 47 times and only Denver has done this more with 48. This may be the biggest threat to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and his offense, and with this extra pressure in the backfield he may be on the move a bit more, which he honestly has handled well a good bit of the season up until the last few weeks.

What is the line on this game?

The sports books have the odds on this game at 3 points with the Bengals as the favorites. Like others, had this game taken place last month I probably would have picked the Ravens but not now.

I do think that Baltimore will make Cincinnati work for it, but based upon the way they have played their last 4 games I think the Bengals have a very clear edge over the Ravens. Yes they beat the Giants last week, but they have not been winning games against opponents that are at the top of their game the past month.

I think that the Bengals are at the top of their game, and they may well improve that game even more this week as well as their playoff game or games. Based on this I am picking the Bengals to win this game, as well as cover the spread. In fact I think that Cincinnati could cover a spread of 4 points. I would like to extend that to 6 points, but I am forcing myself to stay conservative and bet more safely.

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