The Baltimore Ravens hit the road for the final time this regular season as they travel to Ohio to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC North division rival matchup. In every game, there are certain matchups that determine the outcome, and this game will be no different.
Below I have highlighted my key matchups to watch for during tomorrow's game against the Bengals:
- Ravens O-Line v Bengals pass rush - Cincinnati comes in ranked second in the NFL in average sacks per game with 3.1, and the Ravens offensive line may be without Pro Bowl G Marshal Yanda, as he may be given the week off to be healthy for next week's playoff game. If Baltimore's offensive line cannot protect quarterback Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor may get some playing time to keep Flacco healthy for the playoffs.
- Cary Williams v AJ Green – Williams will likely be assigned to cover Green for most of the game, and he will have his hands full. Williams has played very well this year, especially since being moved into the number one spot after Lardarius Webb's injury, but he is in for quite a challenge tomorrow afternoon.
- Baltimore Ravens v Scoreboard – You may be asking yourself, "what is he talking about?" Simple, it has been debated all week whether or not the Ravens should play all of their starters who have some lingering injuries as the only thing Baltimore is playing for is a possible jump to the three seed, as opposed to the four. Baltimore would need to win, and New England lose (facing Miami) in order for that to happen, so it will be interesting to see how the Ravens respond to the scoreboard for the Patriots v Dolphins game as if New England is running away with it, I would not be surprised to see some guys come out of the game.
- Joe Flacco v The Road – You didn't think we would get to week 17 and not have to bring up this matchup again did you? Although the offense looked spectacular last week, we still have yet to see anything that would make us believe that their road woes are corrected. This will be the first road game under new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, so it will be interesting to see how the road offense looks compared to when Cam Cameron was at the helm.
Neither team is playing for much on Sunday, but both have stated that they are going to play the game to win. As aforementioned, the Ravens could get the three seed if the chips fall right, but Cincinnati is literally playing for nothing but pride. No matter win or lose, the Bengals will be the six seed when the playoffs start next week, so that situation will be interesting as well to see if Cincinnati sticks with its starters all game. If Baltimore does somehow end up with the three seed, these two would face each other next week in the Wildcard round of the playoffs.
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