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David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CHI
Monday
SD
GB
*updated
NO

Prediction: CIN 17, BAL 24

Saturday Update: Benson had a full day on Friday and is good to go this week. Mason was still limited on Friday but is expected to play.

Friday Update: Cedric Benson missed practice on Wednesday to rest his hip but returned to practice and said he was fine and would play without limitation this week (other than trying to play in Baltimore). Derrick Mason also missed practice on Wednesday but returned for limited work on Wednesday. His neck was injured during the game last week and he still played so he is expected to suit up this week as well.

This inter-divisional match takes on a whole new look with the Bengals much improved and the Ravens slipping on defense a bit but making up for it with a much better offensive effort. The Ravens are coming off their first loss of the year while the Bengals are on a three game winning streak that very easily could have been four. This should be a very competitive game.

The Ravens swept the Bengals last year, winning 17-10 at home for the season opener and later 34-3 in Cincinnati in week 13.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DEN 7-12 -5 42.5
2 @GB 31-24 +9 42
3 PIT 23-20 +4.5 37
4 @CLE 23-20 -5.5 38
5 @BAL - +8.5 42
6 HOU - - -
7 CHI - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 BAL - - -
10 @PIT - - -
11 @OAK - - -
12 CLE - - -
13 DET - - -
14 @MIN - - -
15 @SD - - -
16 KC - - -
17 @NYJ - - -
CIN at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     210,2
RB Cedric Benson 50 10  
TE Daniel Coats   20,1  
WR Chad Ochocinco   60,1  
WR Chris Henry   30  
WR Laveranues Coles   30  
WR Andre Caldwell   40  
PK Shayne Graham 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Bengals have plowed ahead with wins over the Packers and Steelers and after this week will have two more home games before their bye. Those games against the Steelers and Ravens are the defining ones and playing in Baltimore on Sunday will be as tough as it gets. There are three road trips to end the season that will prove daunting but the Bengals have the look of a winning season this year and that's a major accomplishment considering the recent past.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer has scored in each of the last three games but his yardage has yet to top 250 and twice he has fallen below 200 yards. This week will tough since he's been sacked at least twice in every game but Palmer has really diversified his throws this year among four different wideouts and even the occasional tight end as well.

Palmer opened 2008 in Baltimore where he only had 94 passing yards.

The Ravens secondary is not as good this year as in the past with all but the Browns turning in at least respectable games against them with a touchdown or two. This game will turn to the air soon enough because of the certain failure of the Bengals rushing attack this week. That will give Palmer at least respectable passing yards but more than two scores is not likely and there will be at least one or two interceptions along the way.

Running Backs: Cedric Benson didn't have the stellar outing expected last week when he ran for 74 yards on 18 carries against the Browns but he has remained around 75 yards or better as a runner every week and has scored twice - both in home games. Bernard Scott got more use last week and turned in 41 yards on six impressive runs which should buy him at least a few more carries each week. Benson had been taking a heavy load each week and Scott could be a boost for the offense and a nice change of pace from Benson. Scott is not worth projecting for yet but is someone to keep an eye on.

The Bengals only gained 55 yards on 21 carries in Baltimore last year. Benson was with the team in week 13 when the Ravens visited and still only gained 17 yards on ten carries.

This year the Ravens have held every runner to 52 yards or less. No reason to use Benson this week. He was good enough at home against the Steelers but playing in Baltimore is easily his worse venue yet.

Wide Receivers: Chad OchoCinco had his worst game of the year with only three catches for 24 yards in Cleveland but two went for a touchdown giving him three on the year. The Bengals have taken to a rotation using Chris Henry, Laveranues Coles and Andre Caldwell at varying times and that pretty much kills off their collective fantasy value even if it does present Palmer with more opportunities for completions. Other than the first two weeks with Chad, no wideout here has managed to gain more than 54 yards in a game and most settle for 35 yards or less.

No wideout had more than 64 yards in either matchup with the Ravens last year and none scored.

The Ravens secondary has allowed three scores to a wideout so far though only one came in Baltimore and each went to the #1 wideout for that team. I am awarding one score to OchoCinco as the most likely to score but only marginally so. The Ravens have been outstanding against the pass in all facets this season so no other wideout here is worth the risk to start.

Tight Ends: The Bengals rarely use their tight ends but have increased from previous seasons and Daniel Coats (4-36) and J.P. Fosch (3-44) both had their best game of the year last Sunday.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 16 19 7 30 30 10
Preventing Fantasy Points    BAL 22 10 18 10 28 5


Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 38-24 -12.5 36
2 @SD 31-26 +4 41
3 CLE 34-3 -13 38.5
4 @NE 21-27 +2 44.5
5 CIN - -8.5 42
6 @MIN - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 DEN - - -
9 @CIN - - -
10 @CLE - - -
11 IND - - -
12 PIT - - -
13 @GB - - -
14 DET - - -
15 CHI - - -
16 @PIT - - -
17 @OAK - - -
BAL vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     270,2
RB Ray Rice 80 30  
RB Willis McGahee 50,1 10  
TE Todd Heap   40  
WR Mark Clayton   40  
WR Kelley Washington   50,1  
WR Derrick Mason   90,1  
PK Steve Hauschka 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Ravens fell to the Patriots last week and ended their unbeaten streak. Losing LT Jared Gaither was no help either but the team says there is a good chance that he only had a neck stinger and could be back which is big for both rushing and passing. The Ravens have a daunting schedule ahead and have to win these easier home games. The Steelers early stumbles appear to be corrected now and the Ravens need a cushion before these teams meet up later in the year.

I like a defensive score this week.

Quarterback: Joe Flacco has passed for at least one touchdown each week and all but one game featured two or more passing touchdowns. The two home efforts this year have both seen him pass for over 300 yards so expect a decent to great game here.

Flacco passed for 129 yards when the Bengals visited last year. He added a rushing touchdown as well.

The Bengals have allowed exactly one passing touchdown per opponent but always give up 240+ passing yards each week. On the road this week, this will be their first two score game allowed.

Running Backs: Ray Rice comes off his second 100+ yard rushing effort and he's been adding four or five receptions every week.. He only has one score on the year though thanks to Willis McGahee who currently has seven touchdowns to his credit. This duo creates a formidable one-two punch but McGahee is always the goal line guy there.

The Ravens never rushed for less than 120 yards against the Bengals last year but never had a running back score a touchdown.

The Bengals defense has only allowed one rushing score to a running back and the primary runner of each opponent has been getting more yardage every week. Last Sunday was Jerome Harrison rumbling for 121 yards

Look for more of the same - yardage by Rice who should at least have a decent game here and McGahee's scoring streak will get extended at least one more week. The Raven will be using a heavy load of rushing this week and that should benefit both runners.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason has scored in each of the last two games and had very healthy yardage while doing it. He's returned to being Flacco's safety valve and has been targeted 19 times over the last two weeks. Mark Clayton trudges along in mediocrity while Kelley Washington continues to play his best ball at the age of 30.

The wideouts were quiet in the first matchup with the Bengals last year but later had two scores and 164 yards for Clayton and 91 yards by Mason in Cincinnati.

Four wideouts have turned in at least 80 yards against the Bengals and that was one per week. Look for Mason to have the best game here and likely score yet again. This should also be a nice chance for Washington to get into the endzone as well though the yardage for either is likely to be just moderate.

Tight Ends: Four games into the season and Todd Heap has apparently level out with around 40 yards every week with a light chance of a score. Todd Heap scored in Cincinnati but never had more than 39 yards in either meeting. That's likely to repeat this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 6 2 9 17 15 12
Preventing Fantasy Points    CIN 24 8 23 15 21 19

The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CHI
Monday
SD
GB
NO
Other Features
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Early Injury Report
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