Game Preview

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Game Preview: Bengals at Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) at an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 in Cincinnati. (NFL LCC/NFL)
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) at an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 in Cincinnati. (NFL LCC/NFL)

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. Broadcasters are Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Rich Gannon (analyst) and Jay Feely (sideline reporter).

Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).

The game also will air nationally on Sports USA Radio. Broadcasters are Josh Appel (play-by-play) and Charles Arbuckle (analyst).

Setting the scene: The Bengals meet the division-rival Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Cincinnati currently stands 0-5 and in search of its first win of the season, after falling last week to the Arizona Cardinals, 26-23.

“We’re 0-5,” said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. “We’re not pointing fingers, (we’re saying) ‘Figure out what you can do better.’ That’s me, that’s the coordinators, that’s the players, that’s the leaders at each position group. What can we do to ramp it up a notch to go get this first win?”

The Bengals started fast against Arizona by forcing a Cardinals three-and-out on the first series the game, and then following that up with a powerful first offensive possession that featured eight rushes for 60 yards from HB Joe Mixon. But that drive stalled in the red zone, Cincinnati was forced to settle for a FG, and the Bengals were held out of the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter.

“It wasn’t too far off from the type of game that we wanted to play,” Taylor said. “There were two opportunities where we had first-and-goal, and really it was on those eventual third-and-goals where we lost out on eight points. That’s the difference for us right now in some of these games. We can’t miss those opportunities.

“We scored on five of the nine drives on offense, but we had opportunities to score touchdowns on most of those drives. We ended up kicking a couple of field goals instead, and that’s where this game got us on offense.”

Defensively, Cincinnati surrendered 514 yards to Arizona, including 266 on the ground. But the game was kept close with stout defensive play in the red zone, where the Cardinals converted just one TD on six total trips. That set the stage for a dramatic fourth-quarter Bengals comeback, which was punctuated by a 42-yard TD pass from QB Andy Dalton to WR Tyler Boyd to tie the game with 1:41 remaining. But Arizona drove 62 yards in six plays on the ensuing possession, and kicked a 31-yard FG as time expired to escape with a win.

“We had that momentum going, and we made the plays when we needed to,” said Bengals QB Andy Dalton. “We had good tempo. Guys were making plays, we were getting positive gains and it led to those two touchdowns.”

Though he is still looking for his first win as a head coach, Taylor says he hasn’t noticed a difference in attitude or approach from anyone inside Paul Brown Stadium.

“We all go into every game thinking we’re going to win, and we’re disappointed when we don’t,” Taylor said. “But I wake up and have my Starbucks, and I feel ready to roll Monday morning to get excited and go attack the next team. The people around us feel the same mentality.

“It can be hard if you have the wrong people surrounding you, but we don’t. That’s what makes it easy to rebound. We have 11 games left, and we have a huge one this week that we want to win.”

Baltimore enters this week’s matchup 3-2, after edging the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-23 in overtime last week.

Turnover margin is key vs. Ravens: In the 36 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. Looking at it from Baltimore’s point of view, the Ravens are 17-2 with a plus and 3-14 with a minus.

Cincinnati leads 7-3 in games against Baltimore in which the turnover margin was even.

Last season, the Bengals won the first meeting with a plus-one turnover margin, while the Ravens won the second meeting with a minus-one differential.

Bengals-Ravens connections: Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is from Perrysburg, Ohio, played defensive back at Miami (Ohio) University, and coached at Morehead State (1988) and the University of Cincinnati (’89-96) ... Ravens WR/RS Chris Moore played at the University of Cincinnati ... Ravens QB Lamar Jackson played at the University of Louisville ... Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban was on the Bengals’ coaching staff from 2011-17 ... Bengals CB Tony McRae was with the Ravens briefly in 2017 ... Ravens DT Brandon Williams attended prep school for one year at Harmony Community School in Cincinnati ... Ravens DE Chris Wormley is from Toledo, Ohio (Whitmer High School) ... Ravens G/C Matt Skura is from Columbus, Ohio (Worthington Kilbourne High School) ... Bengals DT Niles Scott (Reserve/Injured) is from Elkton, Md. (Elkton High School), and played at Frostburg State University ... Bengals CB Anthony Chesley (practice squad) is from Temple Hills, Md. (Gwynn Park High School) ... Ravens G Parker Ehinger (practice squad) played at the University of Cincinnati ... Bengals senior defensive assistant Mark Duffner was the head coach at the University of Maryland from 1992-96 ... Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale is from Dayton, Ohio, played at Defiance College from 1981-84, and coached at Defiance (’86-87) and the University of Cincinnati (’96-98) ... Bengals secondary/cornerbacks coach Daronte Jones is from Annapolis, Md., played at Morgan State University from 1997-2000, and coached at Bowie State from ’05-09 ... Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons entered NFL coaching with the Ravens in 1998 ... Ravens defensive backs coach Chris Hewitt played at the University of Cincinnati from 1993-96 ... Ravens assistant defensive backs coach Jesse Minter attended Mount Saint Joseph University and coached at the University of Cincinnati from 2007-09 ... Ravens senior assistant/running backs coach Craig Ver Steeg coached at the University of Cincinnati 1990-93 ... Ravens assistant special teams coach T.J. Weist coached at the University of Cincinnati from 2010-13.

The series: Cincinnati-Baltimore series is tied, 23-23.

Here are some series notes:

  • When Cincinnati took the series lead in Game 2 last season, it was the first time the Bengals had led the series since after the first of two meetings of 1998, when they were up 3-2.
  • The Bengals have won three of the last five meetings, and nine of the last 13. The two teams split their meetings last year.
  • It hasn’t been an easy series for the visiting team. The Ravens lead 15-8 in Baltimore, and the Bengals lead 15-8 in Cincinnati.
  • Since 2010, 13 of the teams’ 18 meetings have been one-score decisions, by eight or fewer points.

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