Final score predictions for Ravens vs. Bengals in Week 18

The Cincinnati Bengals face a must-win game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday to close out the regular season.

While the Bengals are already AFC North champions, the NFL’s decision that has Zac Taylor angry and the front office “livid” with the league means opening-round playoff home-field advantage is still at stake.

In short, if the Bengals lose and the playoff bracket determines a rematch with the Ravens in the opening round (very likely), a coin flip will determine which team gets to actually host the game. A loss and a coin flip loss would make the Bengals the first team in league history to win a division but go on the road in the wild card round.

There are many things that led to the ruling and reasons, but the focus for the Bengals today is simply winning.

That should be very likely too. Before Cincinnati’s Week 17 game against the Bills was declared a no-contest, the Bengals had won seven games in a row and looked good to start that one. Joe Burrow has been playing at an MVP level and the defense continues to adapt well to any opponent.

Much of this reasoning is about the Ravens too. They’re 10-6 but have lost two of their last three, the win during that stretch against a six-win team. The defense looks good statistically but hasn’t played a dangerous quarterback in more than a month (Mitch Trubkisky, Kenny Pickett, Deshaun Watson and Desmond Ridder).

Most notably, Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson is out with an injury and star running back JK Dobbins won’t play, choosing instead to focus on the playoff matchup. Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley (two touchdowns, three picks on 112 attempts) is a game-time decision with an injury, too.

We do have to mention the Bengals lost to these Ravens in Week 5, 19-17, but again, Jackson was on the field for that game in Baltimore and as fans know, Burrow and the offense had a very slow start to the season for a handful of obvious reasons.

Had the Ravens scored more than 17 points in a game since November 27, this might be more of a trap game for the Bengals. But the locker room and organization enter this one angry and probably wouldn’t mind sending a message to their likely wild card opponent, so barring a stunner, Burrow and Co. should pull away early.

Prediction: Bengals 28, Ravens 14

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Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire