The Bengals offensive line has improved but look for the Ravens to try to take advantage of Bengals right tackle Bobby Hart, who was disgusting in the Bengals week one win over the Colts.
The Ravens retooled their receiving group during the offseason to give Joe Flacco a better chance to shine, and the results last week were profound.
A second-half comeback wasn't almost enough as the Cincinnati Bengals held on for a 34-23 victory, riding a dominant start led by Andy Dalton's four touchdown passes. When they got the ball back they chose to throw three straight passes and when they were all incomplete they had to punt it away after having it for just 12 seconds.
The 70,507 fans at M&T Bank Stadium were on their feet, cheering for one more defensive stop that would put the Ravens back in the playoffs.
"We still have one (improvement) we need to make, one we haven't done a good job of in the first two games, which is making sure we close out football games", Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. The Bengals were tested on the road last week and came out on the winning end, while the Ravens were basically still in preseason mood against a bad Buffalo Bills team, which means that the Bengals should be more ready to get after it on Thursday night. The Ravens finished with six sacks and two interceptions.
At times the Bengals have looked like they possess the qualities to win the AFC North, and at other times they have looked like the team that went 7-9 last season. Dalton finished 24 of 42 for 265 yards, throwing four touchdown passes for the fifth time in his career. In fact, in the final game of the 2017 season Green was abnormally quiet, as he was held to just two receptions for 17-yards on ten targets. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick dropped a Flacco bomb all by himself in the middle of the field, was hit with a 30-yard pass interference penalty in the end zone for tugging the back of wide receiver John Brown's jersey, and left end Carlos Dunlap missed a clean sack and allowed Flacco to throw a one-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews. They're the first team to score at least 34 points in each of their first two games since the 2013 Broncos, who reached the Super Bowl, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Rookie C Billy Price hurt his right ankle in the first quarter and didn't return. Dixon did manage to score a rushing touchdown along with fellow Raven running backs, Alex Collins and Javorius Allen.
The Bengals secondary, which was led by cornerback William Jackson III, took advantage of the struggling Flacco, as they hauled in two interceptions and forced another 10 to fall incomplete.
There are some easy calls in this one on the Bengals side.
But could Marlon Humphrey be the answer?
A young man in a black shirt ran onto the field in the closing minutes undetected until he got near Dalton.
This performance against Baltimore is a reminder that Green just might be the most underrated receiver in the NFL. Green climbed the ladder and ripped the ball out of Austin's hands, shrugged off his tackle and was gone for 32 yards. Our quarterback is playing his tail off and the guys today took care of him.