Ravens-Bengals Preview: Ravens' Defense to Keep it Close

We’re looking ahead to the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens. This spread is quickly approaching double-digits as it appears Lamar Jackson’s previously anticipated return might not come to fruition.

Nevertheless, there is reason to believe this contest will be closer than expected. These two AFC North foes split their games this season, with Baltimore’s defense having caused trouble for Joe Burrow in each matchup.

For more trends, line movement, injury updates, player props, picks, and videos on the Ravens at Bengals, click here

Ravens @ Bengals Game Information

  • Location: Paycor Stadium | Cincinnati, OH
  • Time: 8:15 p.m. ET | TV: NBC

Lamar Jackson’s availability headlines this game, and it isn’t looking promising. He was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday, so it seems like Tyler Huntley will get the start under center for the Ravens Sunday night with everything on the line.

Huntley’s been rehabbing an injury of his own as he couldn’t go in Week 18, but coach John Harbaugh has spoken positively of his progress, so we’re expecting him to be out there.

On Cincinnati’s side, Tee Higgins returned to practice Thursday after being held out on Wednesday, so we’ll look for him to be prepared for Sunday after the previous scare.

Their offensive line has taken another hit after La’el Collins’s season-ending injury three weeks ago, as guard Alex Cappa has been ruled out for Sunday. That leaves Burrow’s right side vulnerable against a team that’s tied for the fifth-most sacks.

Ravens @ Bengals Game Odds on FanDuel

  • Spread: Ravens +9.5 (-104) | Bengals -9.5 (-118)
  • Moneyline: Ravens (+380) | Bengals (-500)
  • Total: Over 40.5 (-110) | Under 40.5 (-110)

Having faith in the Ravens looks past their quarterback situation to their defense. All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith was awarded a $100 million extension, and since his arrival midseason, the defense has allowed just 14.7 points per game.

Baltimore limited Burrow to 216 yards and a touchdown pass per game. With their ability to make Burrow uncomfortable, we’re buying the Ravens plus 9.5 points. They have the rushing attack to slow the game down, play complementary football and keep it close.

Ravens @ Bengals Prop Picks on FanDuel

  • Ja’Marr Chase OVER 6.5 Receptions (+102)
  • Joe Mixon OVER 23.5 Receiving Yards (-114)
  • JK Dobbins ATDS (+220) | OVER Rushing Yards

Since returning from injury five weeks ago, Ja’Marr Chase has gone over 6.5 receptions in each game and has averaged 12 targets per game during the stretch. He’s combined for 15 receptions over two games against Baltimore this season, so we’ll bite on the plus odds for Chase to go OVER.

Baltimore has the third-best defense against the run, so the Bengals will get Joe Mixon involved more through the air instead of forcing it on the ground. He’s gone over 23.5 yards in three straight weeks on 20 targets. There should be enough volume for Mixon to reach 24 yards. 

Over Tyler Huntley’s last four games as a starter, Baltimore’s RB1 has eclipsed 90 yards in each game. With Huntley a weak passer, the Ravens need to establish the ground game and control the time of possession. Look for JK Dobbins to be fed a ton of touches as he comes in well-rested.