At first glance, the the Cincinnati Bengals have little to play for in Week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Bengals have been eliminated from playoff contention, their star rookie QB is out for the season, and they have a top draft position locked up.
But if you look deeper at the history between these two franchises and the crushing late season blows they have handed each other, the Bengals vs. Ravens matchup becomes one of the most intriguing games on a packed Sunday slate.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Head-to-Head
The Ravens narrowly lead the all-time series 26-23, with much success in recent matchups. After the Bengals strong half-decade under head coach Marvin Lewis and QB Andy Dalton, the Ravens have ruled the AFC North alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Bengals, do, however, have a history of recent success in Week 17 games against Baltimore. Three years ago Cincinnati defeated Baltimore in a 'meaningless' Week 17 game, eliminating the Ravens from playoff contention and sending the Buffalo Bills to the postseason.
This season, the Ravens have won their last three games, and Cincinnati has won their last two.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Team News
The Ravens clinch the playoffs with a win Sunday. They can still make the playoffs with a loss, but they would need help from at least one other team. Baltimore's starters, Lamar Jackson included, are expected to play the entire game Sunday barring a blowout. Cornerback Marcus Peters, who has missed weeks with a calf injury, returned to practice this week, but Baltimore has not designated any players injury's for
Bengals star wide receiver AJ Green, who is nearing the end of his lengthy NFL career, has said his future with Cincinnati is uncertain. Sunday's game could be the last of his career, or, at the very least, his last as a Bengal.
"If this is my last game, I had an unbelievable 10 years here," Green told NFL.com
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Projected Starters
QB: Lamar Jackson
RB: JK Dobbins
WR: Willie Snead IV, Marquise Brown, Dez Bryant
TE: Mark Andrews
QB: Brandon Allen
RB: Giovani Bernard
WR: AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins
TE: Drew Sample
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Predictions
The Ravens easily beat the Bengals earlier this season, and, despite the history of playing spoiler for Cincinnati, there is no reason to suggest Baltimore shouldn't be able to do it again. Brandon Allen had the best game of his NFL career last week, throwing for nearly 400 yards, so if Allen shows up once again this game could turn into a high-scoring affair, but the Ravens should still come out on top.
Prediction: Baltimore beats Cincinnati by double-digitsPublished 01 Jan 2021, 08:46 IST