@NotTheWillHill's Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens Pick - 10/9

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens

Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells once famously said “you are what your record says you are”. While I understand the sentiment of what Parcells was saying, all records are not created equally. The Bengals head into Baltimore Sunday night to take on the Ravens, as both teams sport identical 2-2 records. However, a closer look reveals a more impressive performance through four games for the home team. The Ravens have averaged 6.2 yards per play so far this season, good for 4th best in the NFL. Meanwhile the Bengals, are 29th averaging just 4.8. The numbers on defense favor the Bengals, but let’s take a look at the opposing quarterbacks they’ve had to face- Mitch Trubisky, Cooper Rush, Joe Flacco, and mostly Teddy Bridgewater last Thursday night following the injury to Tua Tagavailoa. The Ravens, remarkably on the other hand,  have trailed for just 14 seconds combined this season, despite the .500 record. They led 20-3 against what is widely-regarded as the best team in football (Bills), and led by 21 points in the 3rd quarter against the Dolphins. Both of the Ravens’ losses have come in the final seconds of games they’ve controlled and built big leads in. The Bengals have split four games against quarterbacks that are simply NFL backups.

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Furthermore, the Bengals beat up on an injury-riddled Ravens team last December, winning 41-21 the day after Christmas. The Ravens were starting third-string quarterback Josh Johnson, and were decimated on defense as they were without their entire  starting secondary. That did not stop the Bengals from running up the score, as Joe Burrow continued to throw late into the game, well after the outcome was decided, amassing a whopping 525 passing yards in the blowout. After the game, ticked off Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh abruptly addressed the Bengals late flurry of passes stating “they call their plays, we call our plays”.  The Ravens were 8-3 last year in November, the 1-seed late into the season, before being crippled by injuries. They went on to lose their last six games, as the Bengals stole the division and stormed to an AFC title. The Ravens have been more impressive so far this year despite the identical win-loss records, while the Ravens must certainly feel like they owe the Bengals some payback after the season sweep last year, coupled with the score being run up in defeat. The Bengals continue to be overpriced after their run through the playoffs last year, as we get the better quarterback , the better coach, and we’re only laying a field goal at home. Let’s lay the 3.5 with the Ravens as they get a measure of revenge and score a big AFC North win in primetime. 

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