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‘Thursday Night Football’ picks and open thread: Bengals at Ravens

Amazon Prime Presents: Burrow vs. Jackson in ‘An AFC North Showdown’

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

For only the second time this season, Thursday Night Football features two teams that are above .500.

The other time it happened was way back in Week 4.

Tonight’s matchup features the division-leading Baltimore Ravens hosting the cellar-dwelling Cincinnati Bengals.

Admittedly, referring to the Bengals as cellar-dwelling is a little bit harsh, but it’s also a bona fide fact - and that won’t change (at least not yet) even if they win tonight’s game.

Here are the current standings in the AFC North:

If the playoff field had been set at the end of Week 10, the Bengals would have been on the outside looking in (thanks to a tiebreaker), and the other three AFC North teams would be preparing for a wildcard game.

Amusingly, none of them would play a team from their own division since Baltimore is currently the No. 2 seed, Pittsburgh is No. 5, and Cleveland is No. 6.

The playoffs are still a couple months away though, so . . .

Let’s talk about tonight’s game and what the Bengals need to do to avenge their Week 2 loss vs. the Ravens.

Because avenge it they shall.

Even though DraftKings Sportsbook doesn’t agree.

Sure, the Ravens boast one of the league’s best defenses: No. 2 in yards allowed (273.6 per game), and No. 1 in points (15.7).

And, yeah, their offense is pretty good too: No. 9 in yards (362.7) and No. 5 in points (27.0).

But Cincinnati is . . .

Um . . .

Never mind.

(The Bengals offense is No. 24 in yards and No. 20 in points while their defense is No. 16 in points and No. 30 in yards.)

Obviously, I was leaning toward Cincinnati earlier, but now I’m not so sure.

Let’s look at the quarterbacks . . .

  • Joe Burrow: 9 games; 2,208 yards (245.3 per game); 67% completion rate; 14 TDs; 6 INTs; passer rating of 90.5
  • Lamar Jackson: 10 games; 2,177 yards (217.7 per game); 70.3% completion rate (No. 2 in the league); 10 TDs; 5 INTs; passer rating of 98.1

That seems like a push to me.

Personally, I think the Bengals have better offensive weapons, but division games are always tough and the Week 2 game was decided by a mere three points, so . . .


How about a few interesting tidbits about the Bengals and Ravens before we get to the picks?

  • Tidbit No. 1: The Ravens lead the all-time series by two games, 29-27.
  • Tidbit No. 2: Cincinnati started the season 1-3, but has won four of their last five games, whereas the Ravens started 3-2, and . . . have also won four of their last five games.
  • Tidbit No. 3: Both teams lost last week when their opponent kicked a final-play, game-winning field goal.

The Pick: Ravens win and cover, Over 46 points.

Don’t quote me on that though because I may change my mind another half dozen times before kickoff.

Now, let’s see what my fellow Field Gulls staff members think . . .