The Monday night football season kicks off the 2012 NFL season with a clash in the AFC North between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens.
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A year ago the Cincinnati Bengals burst onto the scene as contenders with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and wide out A.J. Green leading the way. The veteran Baltimore Ravens were not impressed as they swept the Bengals in the season series. The Ravens will look to keep a stranglehold on the Bengals as they try out some new looks.
On offense Joe Flacco will get some snaps in the no-huddle that the team has worked on during the preseason. Steady running back Ray Rice anchors the backfield and Torrey Smith provides a deep-threat option as wide out.
The defense is getting older for the Ravens but Ray Lewis is always a threat, but it will be interesting to see how the Ravens cope without Terrell Suggs who will sit out the opener. This could take some pressure off Dalton in the pocket.
Dalton left a preseason game with an elbow injury, but is fine and will be starting under center for this game.
The Ravens defense may be a tad older but they still know how to talk smack. With Baltimore beginning its preparation for next Monday’s game against Cincinnati this week, safety Bernard Pollard offered a message for Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.
“When we see receivers coming across the middle, and we’re in the right defense, we’re going to smack you,” Pollard said. “Obviously, you came across the middle against the wrong team.”
The Bengals will need Green upright if they plan on keeping his game close.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis will start game one and play his first game of his career as a member of the Bengals. Green-Ellis is a consistent running back that does not turnover the ball which is crucial in a game that could easily come down to the last few minutes of regulation.
Despite the two losses a season ago, the Bengals played well against the Ravens posting 40 points in the two meetings. In fact in the first meeting the Bengals put up over 450 total yards on offense and outgained the Ravens by more than 100 yards.
The sports betting trends show that the Bengals always put up a fight against the Ravens as they are 4-1-1 against the spread in the last six meetings.
The second loss of the season as more painful for the Bengals as the Ravens clinched the AFC North title with the victory. The Bengals realize if they want to contend in the division it all starts with a good showing against the Ravens.
Don’t be surprised if the Bengals have a realistic chance of pulling off the upset and the play is on the scrappy underdog.
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