The old adage “throw the records out the window” is the perfect maxim when describing the Bengals-Ravens series. Since 2010, 14 of the teams’ 19 meetings have been one-score decisions, by eight or fewer points.
Now, the rivalry will experience a new chapter as the Ryan Finley era begins in Cincinnati. After the Week 8 game against the Los Angeles Rams, head coach Zac Taylor announced that Finley will replace veteran quarterback Andy Dalton as their starter.
Dalton had been the Bengals' starter since they selected him in the second round of the 2011 draft. He is tied with Ken Anderson for the most touchdown passes in franchise history (197) and is second in career passing yards (30,352). However, Taylor believed the timing was right to make the move and see what Finley could do on the field.
With the Finley era set to begin, here are the three things to watch in Week 10 against the Baltimore Ravens.
1. Finley Against The Fire – Finley will face one of the hottest defenses in the league of late. Baltimore scored two defensive touchdowns against Seattle and one against the Patriots. The Ravens during their four-game winning streak are allowing 19.0 points per game and 302 yards per game.
After the Ravens stumbled to a 2-2 start and lost starting safety Tony Jefferson in the team’s fifth game of the season, the defense has come together with the additions of linebackers Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort and defensive backs Jimmy Smith and Marcus Peters.
Finley though appears poised to seize the moment thanks to his previous experiences. He began his college career at Boise State before playing his final three seasons at N.C. State, where most of the school records he chased still belong to Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers. In the preseason, Finley completed 47 of 64 passes for 414 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
2. Jackson’s Rushing – Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson loves facing the Bengals. Back in Week 6 Jackson finished with a career-high 152 yards on the ground to carry the Ravens to a 23-17 win over the Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. He also added 236 yards passing on 21 of 33 attempts which kept the Bengals off-balance.
One big difference though from Week 6 to Week 10 will be the defensive personnel available. At Baltimore the Bengals were without two of their best run defenders in defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Darqueze Dennard. That should give defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo a few more options to attack the Ravens attack that leads the NFL at 31.4 points and 204.9 rushing yards per game. It is a tall task though against Jackson who is 10-0 in his career when rushing for at least 70 yards in a game.
3. Turnovers Turn The Tables – In the 37 all-time Bengals-Ravens meetings in which the turnover differential has not been even (1995-present), the team who wins the turnover battle has posted a 31-5 record. Putting it another way, the Bengals are 14-3 against the Ravens with a plus turnover differential, and 2-17 with a minus.
Going back to the Ravens defense, that unit has forced a turnover in five straight games and created 1.75 miscues during the winning streak. On the other side, the Bengals are minus-nine this season in turnover differential and have only two interceptions.
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.
Television: The game will air on CBS-TV. In the Bengals’ home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington.
Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).