The Cincinnati Bengals have been a thorn in the Ravens’ side over the years, particularly since coach Harbaugh took over the reins in 2008. Though the all-time series is knotted at 20-20, the Ravens are a mere 7-9 against Cincy since the John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco era began.
Flacco spoke with respect about Marvin Lewis‘ team the last time he stepped to the podium, shedding some light on just how difficult it’s been to beat a Bengals team that’s had his number.
“We were talking about that a little bit today in the QB room,” stated Flacco. “I know they have gotten after us a couple years ago back when they first started doing a lot of the double mug stuff.
“The last couple years, we have just gotten down on them early and let them play with a lead, I feel like. I remember a couple years ago, we were pretty much a two-minute offense the whole second half. These games are all tough. I’m sure if I was to go back and look at the film, I could tell you what those things were. They have been a good defense – talented defense, well-coached.
“When you look at the film this year, they are still playing good. Teams that have beat them have hit big plays on them. We probably have not been able to do that as much as we would like until the end of games when we have been in desperation mode.
“It just goes back to the point we were making about early on in the football game being a big part of being victorious.”
Flacco’s point about starting fast is a glaring one, given that their past four losses to the Bengals have all been by eight points or less.
So the Ravens know that, to end the streak, they must get off to a quick start Sunday, both offensively and defensively.
“Damn, it has been that many? I didn’t know it was five in a row,” quipped Terrell Suggs. “That is like that kid you have to fight every day until you win.
“They have been kind of picking on us. Unfortunately, their deep threat [A.J. Green] is hurt, but he might miraculously show up; you never know. We are still going to game-plan him, though. Like you said, five straight is five straight. Numbers do not lie. They have kind of had our number. We are going to see what we can do to change that.”
The Ravens will catch a break with a banged up Bengals offense. With the way the division is setting up, as a two team race between Baltimore and the 6-5 Steelers, a Baltimore victory Sunday could bury Cincinnati. Throw in that it would push them to 4-0 in AFC North play, and the Ravens know they can’t take this game lightly.
“They are always important,” Suggs stated about division games being more important in regards to making the playoffs. “This is the NFL, especially, this is the AFC. They are all important.
“Everyone knows what lies ahead of us. You definitely want to win all your home games. That is when you have your best edge, your best chance to win – when you are at home. You take care of your home games and you split on the road, and it pretty much takes care of itself. These are not only big games, they are monumental.”
The Ravens have won five of their past eight games against the Bengals in the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium (though they’ve lost two straight). Here’s hoping they add another victory on Sunday; their playoff hopes may just depend on it.
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