Game Preview: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

181014-Jackson-William (AP)
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson (22) takes a defensive position during an NFL game against the Pittsburg Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 in Cincinnati. (Margaret Bowles via AP)

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-byplay), Rich Gannon (analyst) and Steve Tasker (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).

Setting the scene: The Cincinnati Bengals this week travel to Baltimore to play the Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. On the line will be at least temporary control of the second spot in the AFC North Division and a leg up over a division rival in the pursuit of a playoff berth.

The 5-4 Bengals are licking their wounds from a disappointing 51-14 home loss to the New Orleans Saints last week. The Saints rolled for 509 net yards on Cincinnati, including 244 net yards rushing. New Orleans QB Drew Brees played a near perfect game, completing 22 of 25 passes for 265 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 150.4 passer rating. The Saints, who scored on nine of their 10 possessions, improved to 8-1 with the win, their eighth straight.

The Bengals played without six prominent players who were inactive due to injuries. On offense, that list included three starters — WR A.J. Green (toe), TE Tyler Kroft (foot) and G Alex Redmond (hamstring). And on defense, it included starting LBs Vontaze Burfict (hip) and Nick Vigil (knee), as well as nickel CB Darqueze Dennard (sternoclavicular).

For the Bengals, it was the third straight game in which the team had given up more than 500 yards to an opponent. After the loss, head coach Marvin Lewis wasted little time in making changes to improve the defense's outlook for the remainder of the season.

On Monday, the team announced that defensive coordinator Teryl Austin had been relieved of his duties, and that Lewis will coordinate the defense moving forward.

Then on Tuesday, Lewis announced that Hue Jackson was joining the Bengals' coaching staff as special assistant to the head coach. Jackson had most recently been head coach of the Cleveland Browns. He coached the Browns from 2016 through Oct. 29 of this season.

Jackson, who is in his 18th season as an NFL coach, is a former assistant on Lewis' staff. He served with the Bengals as wide receivers coach from 2004-06, assistant special teams/assistant defensive backs coach in '12, special assistant to the head coach/running backs coach in '13 and offensive coordinator from '14-15. In addition to being head coach of Browns for most of the past three seasons, Jackson also was head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2011.

Coincidentally, this week's road trip takes Lewis, in his first game serving as coordinator of the Bengals' defense, to the city where he made himself a household name in the NFL, as defensive coordinator of the Ravens. His six seasons (1996-2001) at the helm of Baltimore's defense included a Super Bowl victory in '00, when his defense set the NFL record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season (165). The 2000 Ravens always are included in discussions about the best NFL defensive units of all time.

The 4-5 Ravens, who have lost three straight, are coming off their bye. Cincinnati has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the two teams, including a 34-23 victory in Game 2 at Paul Brown Stadium, and Bengals players know that another win over the Ravens this weekend could quickly right the team's proverbial ship.

The series: Overall, Cincinnati leads its series with Baltimore, 23-22. Here are some series notes:

  • When Cincinnati took the series lead in Game 2 earlier this 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 eight of the last 10 meetings between the two teams.
  • It hasn't been an easy series for the visiting team. The Ravens lead 14-8 in Baltimore, and the Bengals lead 15-8 in Cincinnati.
  • Since 2010, 12 of the teams' 17 meetings have been one-score decisions, by eight or fewer points.

Turnover margin key vs. Ravens: In 23 Bengals-Ravens games during Marvin Lewis' tenure with the Bengals (2003-present) in which the turnover differential has not been even, the team who wins the turnover battle has posted a 21-2 record. Putting it another way, the Bengals are 11-0 against the Ravens with a plus turnover differential, and 2-10 with a minus. Looking at it from Baltimore's view, the Ravens are 10-2 with a plus and 0-11 with a minus.

Cincinnati leads 6-2 in Lewis' tenure in games against Baltimore in which the turnover margin was even. Earlier this season, the Bengals beat the Ravens while posting a plus-three margin. Last season, the Ravens won the first meeting with a plus-four turnover margin, while the Bengals won the second meeting with an even differential.

Overall, Lewis owns an 19-12 record against Baltimore.

Dalton-to-Boyd produces $550k to charity: In last year's season finale at Baltimore, Bengals QB Andy Dalton and WR Tyler Boyd produced one of the most dramatic and memorable plays in team history. With 49 seconds remaining in the game, Dalton connected with Boyd for a 49-yard TD pass on fourth-and-12, erasing a three-point deficit and putting the Bengals ahead to stay, 31-27.

The thrilling play simultaneously sealed a Bengals win, eliminated Baltimore from playoff contention, and gave the Buffalo Bills their first postseason berth since 1999. Video of jubilant Bills players watching the play in the locker room after their game in Miami was viewed nationally, and Dalton and Boyd were the talk of the town in Buffalo.

Almost immediately, joyous Bills fans took to the internet to show their appreciation, and they spoke loudest with their wallets. Over the days following the game, the Andy and Jordan Foundation website — — was flooded with donations. According to Dalton, the final tally included more than 17,000 donors and over $450,000.

"What happened with Buffalo has been able to shed a lot of light on what we do and what our foundation helps," Dalton told reporters this week. "If I go anywhere and there's somebody from Buffalo, they're going to make sure to come up and tell me that they're a Bills fan, or that they're from Buffalo or have a certain tie there."

Bills fans also heaped appreciation on Boyd. The third-year WR estimates that more than $100,000 was donated to his cause of choice, the Western Pennsylvania Youth Athletic Association, a youth sports league in his hometown of Clairton, Pa.

"That's priceless to me," Boyd said. "It's more than the money. What matters to me is affecting people's lives. Inspiring people. That's what I loved growing up — seeing people inspire me in ways to make me want to do something like that in the future. Doing good for the community."

Bengals-Ravens connections: Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was Ravens defensive coordinator from 1996-2001 and earned a Super Bowl ring with the 2000 World Champions ...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 quarterbacks coach James Urban was on the Bengals' coaching staff from 2011-17 ... Ravens DT Brandon Williams attended prep school for one year at Harmony Community School in Cincinnati ... Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons entered NFL coaching with the Ravens in 1998 ...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 CB Tony McRae was with the Ravens briefly in 2017 ... Ravens WR Chris Moore played at the University of Cincinnati ... Ravens QB Lamar Jackson played at the University of Louisville ...Ravens OLB Za'Darius Smith played at the University of Kentucky ... Ravens DE Chris Wormley is from Toledo, Ohio (Whitmer High School) ... Ravens G/C Matt Skura is from Columbus, Ohio (Worthington Kilbourne High School) ... Ravens ILB Bam Bradley (Physically Unable to Perform) is from Trotwood, Ohio (Madison High School) ... Bengals defensive line coach Jacob Burney was on the Ravens staff from 1996-98 ... Bengals assistant strength and conditioning coach Jeff Friday was on the Ravens staff from 1999-2007 ... Bengals secondary/cornerbacks coach Daronte Jones is from Annapolis, Md., played at Morgan State University from 1997-2000 and coached at Bowie State University from 2005-09 ... Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton was assistant S/C coach for the Ravens from 1999-2001 ...Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack is from Camp Springs, Md. ... Ravens secondary coach Chris Hewitt played at the University of Cincinnati from 1993-96 ... Ravens special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg coached at the University of Cincinnati from 1992-95 ... Ravens senior offensive assistant Craig Ver Steeg coached at the University of Cincinnati from 1990-93.