CINCINNATI BENGALS (5-4) at BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-3)
LINE: Baltimore by 4
CHEWABLE: Both Ravens and Bengals were straight-up losers last Sunday after entering games against the Browns and Texans as rather heavy, 6.5-point favourites.
It’s quite possible the two AFC North powerhouses were a bit distracted looking ahead to this huge clash, which not only promises to be in stark contract to last Thursday’s Carolina-Chicago snoozer, but also the best game of Week 11.
Or at least the Eagles visit with the Chiefs on Monday.
— It’s looking like the Bengals will be without a significant weapon in WR Tee Higgins, who missed last week’s game because of a hamstring injury and, heading into Wednesday, had not yet practised this week. Higgins was the Bengals leading receiver with eight catches for 89 yards and two TDs when they lost their Week 2 showdown with Baltimore 27-24.
— Before that, the Bengals had won four of the previous meetings, including a 24-17 victory in last season’s AFC wild-card game.
— Both the Baltimore defence and Lamar Jackson had their worst game of the season in last week’s 33-31 loss to the Browns. The Ravens allowed 178 rushing yards, bumping their season average per game to 100.5 yards and no doubt giving Joe Mixon and the Cincinnati offensive line reason to be optimistic. Jackson completed just 13-of-33 passes for 223 yards with one TD and two interceptions.
— The Ravens led the Browns 17-9 at the half before yet another bad fourth quarter in which they were outscored 16-7. In four of their past six games, they’ve been outscored 53-20 in the fourth quarter and that includes a 38-6 victory over Detroit.
— The Bengals were encouraged that DE Trey Hendrickson (hyper-extended knee) was a limited participant in Tuesday’s practice, DE Sam Hubbard (ankle) is likely to miss his second consecutive game.
— Burrow completed 27-of-40 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two picks in Cincinnati’s 30-27 home loss to the Texans last week.
— The Bengals run defence fell to a dreadful 30th overall after they allowed Devin Singletary to enjoy not only the best afternoon of his 70-game career, but also just the fourth time the former Buffalo Bill eclipsed the 100-yard mark.
— As a follow to that point, one prop worth strong consideration is Gus Edwards as an anytime TD scorer. Edwards has rushed for at least one TD in each of his past four games, or seven in total.
— Even with a bad back Ja’Marr Chase caught five passes for 124 yards and a TD against the Texans. Chase has averaged seven catches and 98.6 receiving yards per game over five meetings with the Ravens.
— Trouble deciding who to back? Here’s a Tale of the Two Quarterbacks: Burrow is 14-5 ATS after a loss. Jackson is 8-18 ATS as a home favourite of 3.5-plus points, not counting Baltimore’s 25-9 season-opening victory over the Texans. On the other hand, Jackson is 7-1 SU against Cincinnati as a starter.
— Something else to keep in mind is the desperation factor. In the hunt for a playoff spot in the NFL’s toughest division, The Bengals need this one a lot more than the Ravens.
TAKING: CINCINNATI +4
SCORE (O/U 46): Bengals 27, Ravens 24