The Bengals play division opponents Ravens tonight and although these big cats canâ€™t catch those high flying birds in the standings, Cincinnati is still in contention for a playoff spot, making a victory imperative. The Bengals have a 3-point home field advantage.
But Carson Palmer and company also have the advantage of an elite receiving core and an overall edge in offense. However, they are going up against a very tough Ravensâ€™ defense.
The Ravens have a brutal defensive frontline thatâ€™s tough to run against. Add to the mix a Bengal offensive line thatâ€™s banged up substantially, and itâ€™s fairly certain that Palmer will be throwing quite a bit. Look for him to be making quick tosses in order to avoid the pass rush and to then spread the field and open it up once the Raven defense starts to wear down. The Bengals like to go with a no-huddle, which will certainly help break down the Ravensâ€™ â€œD.â€?
Raven QB Steve McNair manages a good game, and when heâ€™s making the right decisions Baltimore wins. He has the opportunity to pick apart a Cincinnati secondary that is vulnerable. The Bengals are allowing almost 250 passing yards per game, the most of any NFL team.
Neither team is great at catch-up football. This is a ball control game with the explosive air offense of the Bengals going up against one of the best and most versatile defenses in the league. In the QB realm, itâ€™s the pure passer Palmer versus the smart game manager McNair.
This game is very much about both QBs keeping their cool and their heads in the game every moment. McNair and company look to have the edge in what appears on paper to be a close game.