Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals NFL Playoffs Wild Card Prediction Game Preview

Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals NFL Playoffs Wild Card prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch, Sunday, January 15

Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals NFL Playoffs Wild Card Prediction Game Preview

Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals How To Watch

Date: Sunday, January 15
Game Time: 8:15 ET
Venue: Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
How To Watch: NBC
Record: Baltimore Ravens (10-7), Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
Sign up and live stream college football on ESPN+

NFL Expert Picks Playoffs Wild Card
Ranking all Bowls | Bowl Grades For Every Team
Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak 

Why Baltimore Ravens Will Win the AFC Wild Card

Can the Ravens muck it up enough to be in this late?

They’ve been sputtering along without Lamar Jackson, the points aren’t there, and they’re struggling to find anything that consistently works well enough pull off tough wins. The defense is doing what it can, but it’s been too much of a grind offensively.

That’s the deal, though. The Ravens can’t keep up if this is any sort of a shootout, so it has to own third downs on both sides of the ball, find a push with the running game, and getting to Joe Burrow and generating consistent pressure all game long is a must.

Parts of that were a problem in the 27-16 loss last week to end the regular season, but the ground game worked well enough to at least keep it interesting. The run defense continued to be great, the pass defense held up okay, and the turnovers …

That was the problem. The can be fixed.

The Ravens didn’t control the clock, but Kenyan Drake ran okay and Anthony Brown threw for 286 yards. Now the starters are back.

There’s no Lamar, but JK Dobbins, Mark Andrews, and a slew of players who sat last week are returning. Most importantly, Tyler Huntley will be back under center.

Brown did what he could, but the four turnovers were a killer. Huntley isn’t air-tight, but he spread out his three interceptions over his five appearances and should be better at keeping things moving – he’ll add about 30 rushing yards to the mix.

However …

Why Cincinnati Bengals Will Win
Ravens vs Bengals Prediction, What’s Going to Happen

NEXT: Why Cincinnati Bengals Will Win the AFC Wild Card

Why Cincinnati Bengals Will Win the AFC Wild Card

It’s not like Cincinnati went full bore, either.

The main men played, but it was the first game back after the nightmare against Buffalo. Baltimore wasn’t playing everyone, and Cincinnati didn’t exactly look or play like its normal self.

Joe Burrow was okay, and the offense didn’t have much of a problem scoring or putting it away, but the timing wasn’t there. He wasn’t hooking up with his receivers like he normally does – he hit just 59% of his passes; the third-worst day of the year – but the rust should be off now.

Expect the sharpness to return like it was before the Monday Night cancelation. The team got it done last week with just 257 yards of total offense thanks to the four takeaways.

All Burrow has to be is his normal self. The run defense has to take care of the rest.

Lost in all the pyrotechnics of the offense is a run defense that’s been among the best in the NFL for most of the season. Hold up against the Baltimore ground game, win. Get rolled on, there’s a problem.

The Bengals are 10-2 when allowing fewer than 110 rushing yards. Baltimore is going to get over 110 rushing yards – that’s what it does – but as long as it’s not controlling the game and the clock on the ground, the Bengals should be fine.

Cincinnati might not be a grinding team, but it’s brilliant on third downs. That, and the passing game can crank up and hit home runs. Baltimore’s offense can’t. Get up fast, and Huntley and the Raven offense will be in trouble.

Ravens vs Bengals Prediction, What’s Going to Happen

NEXT: What’s Going To Happen, Who’s Going to Win Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals AFC Wild Card

What’s Going To Happen, Who’s Going to Win Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals AFC Wild Card

Baltimore won’t go away quietly.

Last week’s game was weird. Baltimore didn’t have its top guys or its A game, and it looked like it in the first half. Cincinnati didn’t play well, but it was up 24-7 and cruised from there.

Now the Bengals will unleash the offense.

Baltimore might be a bit more rested in key spots, and it’ll be far more careful with the ball than it was last week, but it won’t be enough. Just when it seems like the upset is coming, and just when it seems like the defense is getting to Joe Burrow enough to matter, boom – that’s when the big strike will come.

Time and again, Baltimore will keep moving that rock up the mountain only to have it come rolling right back down with one Burrow completion.

The game will be far tougher than the final score will make it seem, but the Bengals will survive. Its passing game will come through. Baltimore’s won’t.

Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals AFC Wild Card Prediction, Line

CFN Prediction: Cincinnati 23, Baltimore 16
Line: Cincinnati -8.5, o/u: 40.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals Must See Rating: 3.5

NFL Expert Picks Playoffs Wild Card
Ranking all Bowls | Bowl Grades For Every Team

Story originally appeared on College Football News