COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Week 11 in the NFL begins with an AFC North tilt between bitter rivals (aren’t they all?) coming off shocking defeats.
Here are the keys to Thursday night’s game:
Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) at Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
Thursday, Nov. 16 at M&T Bank Stadium, 8:15 p.m. (Prime Video)
Opposites do not attract: The Baltimore Ravens seemingly have a revolving door of running backs who can pace the offense on any given week. While the Ravens run game, ranked first in the NFL, wasn’t as impressive in Week 10’s loss to the Browns, it still averaged 4.4 yards per carry and put 12 points on the board. Gus Edwards has scored seven TDs over the last four games, rookie Keaton Mitchell has scored in consecutive games and QB Lamar Jackson has five rushing TDs.
Unfortunately, that’s where the Bengals continue to struggle, ranking third worst against the run this season (136.2 yards allowed per game). It looked particularly ugly last week against the Texans (188 yards rushing) and could possibly be without defensive linemen Sam Hubbard (ankle) and Trey Hendrickson (knee) this week.
Better late than never: If the Bengals struggle to put points on the board early, it can take comfort in the fact that the Ravens have allowed nearly half of their points scored against (75 out of 157) in the fourth quarter or overtime. Late-game collapses to Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and, of course, Cleveland, have allowed the Bengals, Browns and Steelers to stay close in the division race.
The Bengals comeback effort last week fell just short, but did rally from 13 points down to tie the game with 1:33 remaining. In the Bengals-Ravens Week 3 matchup, Tee Higgins, who is out this week with a hamstring injury, scored with under four minutes remaining to make it a three-point contest.
Line: Ravens 3 ½. O/U: 46.
Prediction: Perhaps the hardest coin flip of the season, but the Bengals may have too many injuries to overcome in a short week. Ravens, 24-23.