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Contipelli's Countdown | Week 16 vs Baltimore Ravens

With three games to go in the regular season, the Bengals and Ravens find themselves tied atop the AFC North. The winner of Sunday's game will take sole possession of first place as the playoff race in the AFC is tightening week by week. 

Here are five things to know ahead of Sunday's Week 16 AFC North showdown with the Baltimore Ravens: 

1. Show Me The Money

Any given Sunday you might witness Evan McPherson leg out a 50-yard field goal with ease, as the rookie has become the ultimate kicking weapon for the Bengals. In just 14 career games, the 21-year old has already cemented his place in the record books, as he now holds the longest field goal in Bengals history after sinking a 58-yarder last week in Denver. McPherson has hit the most field goals of 50 or more yards in the NFL this season with nine and is one shy of tying the NFL record for most in a single season. Meaning if McPherson is good from beyond 50 two more times over the next three weeks, he will become the first player ever in NFL history to connect on 11 50-yard field goals in a single season. 

2. Air Burrow 

Joe Burrow is once again looking to join an exclusive list of quarterbacks. Burrow can become the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300 or more yards in 10 or more games in their first two seasons in the league, joining Dan Marino, Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes. He also has the opportunity to become only the third Bengals quarterback ever to pass for 4,000 yards in a single season. Burrow needs 360 yards to join Andy Dalton (2013, 2015) and Carson Palmer (2006, 2007). 

Burrow is also aiming for a third consecutive game with zero interceptions and a passer rating over 100, along with a third straight game at home with 300 or more passing yards. The Bengals signal-caller leads all AFC quarterbacks with a 100.7 QB rating and has posted at least a 95 rating against every AFC North opponent so far this season. Back in Week 7, Burrow threw for a career-high 416 yards and tossed three touchdowns while posting a QB rating of 113.5 in the Bengals 41-17 win over the Ravens.

3. By The Book

Zac Taylor's squad has proven to be a disciplined team on the field in 2021. The Bengals have incurred the fewest amount of penalties (58) and penalty yardage (481) in the league this season. The next team with the fewest amount of penalties in the NFL is Indianapolis who has committed 64. And when you look on the flip side, they've drawn the sixth most penalties (96) against opposing teams. 

4. Bengal Bowlers

Three Bengals will be representing Cincinnati at the 2022 pro bowl in Las Vegas, as Ja'Marr Chase, Joe Mixon and Trey Hendrickson were all elected to their first career pro bowl. 

Chase leads the Bengals in receptions (61), receiving yards (1,038), and receiving touchdowns (10) while leading all NFL rookies in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Mixon has the second-most rushing yards in the NFL this season (1,094) and is third in rushing touchdowns (12). Hendrickson has recorded the fifth-most sacks in the league (13) and holds the longest active streak in the NFL with at least a half-sack (10 games).  

Chase has been named a starter and becomes the sixth Bengals rookie, and first since 2011 (A.J. Green and Andy Dalton) to be honored with a pro bowl selection in their first season. Chase is also one of just four rookies voted to this year's Pro Bowl, joining Los Angeles Chargers tackle Rashawn Slater as the two first-year players on the AFC team.  

5. Brooms Out For Baltimore

The Bengals have an opportunity this weekend to put their stamp on the AFC North. With a win on Sunday, it would be the first time since 2015 the Bengals sweep the season series against the Ravens. It would also mark the first time since 2009 Cincinnati will have swept both Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the same season. 

When both Baltimore and Cincinnati bring in a winning record, the Bengals hold the recent edge having won the last five games. They have also played well in the colder temperatures. Cincinnati has won the last four December meetings against Baltimore, and are 15-10 all-time at home when facing the Ravens.