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Matchup: No surprises






SEPTEMBER 10, 2007

If there is uneasiness about the preseason in the Bengaldom countryside, the film room tries to soothe the natives in the weekly matchup.

"I think Baltimore is going to be the better team, but not now,"says The Guru, a former NFL general manager. "And I'm worried about Cincinnati's defense. But Baltimore's offensive line is real vulnerable and their running game isn't in sync yet. Plus, I think it's a real plus for Cincinnati and its pass protection that the game is at home. That is going to help them and I think they're catching Baltimore at the right time. I see the Bengals winning it."

After watching both teams this preseason, The Chief, a current personnel director not in the Bengals division, calls both teams Super Bowl contenders and thinks the Ravens are a little more balanced on both sides of the ball. But he calls the game "a tossup," with the edge going to the home team.

"You get up on Baltimore and you don't have to play perfect defense," The Chief says.

WR Tab Perry vs. Ravens CB Corey Ivy



"I still think the Bengals offense can go deep. (Offensive coordinator) Bob Bratkowski has always done a great job protecting the quarterback against these guys. Chad sounds ready with the 'Big Sexy' and they still have 'Whosyourmomma' that can make plays," The Guru says. "And they've got a tough, physical runner in Rudi Johnson who is the kind of guy that gives them problems instead of a scatback type."

"He's not Adalius Thomas in space; he's a different kind of player," The Guru says. "He can really go upfield on you. He has tremendous explosion."

The Guru thinks Lewis is still a tremendous leader and a guy the Ravens rally around at middle linebacker, "but at he's not the same guy," he said. "He's lost a little something. I thought teams were always best running right at him, and I think that holds now."

"The whole premise of the Bengals beating the Ravens is giving Palmer time so the receivers can beat those guys deep," The Chief says. "Now you're saying the protection is going to be reduced. This is going to be a big part of the game to watch."

"I think the Bengals have to try and take advantage of that inexperience up front with some stunts and games," The Guru says.

There looks like there are going to be growing pains, but Brooks can entertain the media at length about breaking down his mistakes. There is some concern he doesn't have Odell Thurman's instincts, but that certainly wasn't the case in college. And defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan is urging Brooks to play like he did as a sophomore at Virginia; run around and don't worry about making mistakes."

"I really do like the Bengals back there," The Chief says. "They've got that third corner (Hall) coming. O'Neal is a good athlete and I think they're going to have some good depth there. I think their defense is going to be good enough this game to keep pace with their offense. The key is getting ahead of Baltimore."

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