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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week
* updated

Prediction: BAL 17,CIN 21

Early Update: Todd Heap has been limited in practice because of his sore ankle but so far he is expected to play this week.

The Ravens knocked off the unbeaten Broncos last week to end their three game losing streak but are back on the road where they are only 1-2. The Bengals come off their bye week having last dismantled the visiting Bears in honor of Cedric Benson. The Ravens won 34-3 in Cincinnati last year but lost 14-17 in Baltimore this season. Once again, the Ravens are favored.

Baltimore Ravens (4-3)
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 14-17 -8.5 42
6 @MIN 31-33 +3 44.5
7 BYE - - -
8 DEN 30-7 +4.5 42.5
9 @CIN - -3 43.5
10 @CLE - - -
11 IND - - -
12 PIT - - -
13 @GB - - -
14 DET - - -
15 CHI - - -
16 @PIT - - -
17 @OAK - - -
BAL at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     270,2
RB Ray Rice 60 70,1  
TE Todd Heap   40  
WR Mark Clayton   50,1  
WR Kelley Washington   40  
WR Derrick Mason   60  
PK Steve Hauschka 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Ravens are only one game from the lead in the AFC North and a win here drops the Bengals and leaves only the Steelers ahead with both meetings left to play. The schedule is dotted with what should be very easy games (CLE, DET, OAK) and major challenges (IND and PIT twice) and unless the Ravens can get past these Bengals, it'll probably be uphill the rest of the way. The Bengals pulled the big upset in Baltimore a month ago, now the Ravens know what they are getting into this time.

Quarterback: Joe Flacco has thrown at least one score in every game this year and had one of his worst efforts when the Bengals showed up in week five and held him to just 186 yards and one touchdown. Flacco has been more productive away from home and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in each away game this year.

The Bengals have allowed at least one score each week but only once has any quarterback had more than one passing touchdown (Schaub who had four). Other than Flacco in the first meeting, each opposing quarterback has been throwing for at least 240 yards against the Bengals. Figure on healthy yardage from Flacco and a good chance for two scores.

Running Backs: Ray Rice has been scoring well with five touchdowns over the last five games and he had 14 carries for 69 yards when the Bengals visited in week five. Rice added seven catches for 74 yards and scored once in that game as well. Figure on Rice likely to have only moderate rushing yards since no runner has topped 100 yards in Cincinnati and no runner has rushed in a score there. But Rice pumps up his value as a receiver which will again be key to his role this week. He has already had one score via a pass and is a good risk to do it again since two other backs already have scored that way in Cincinnati.

Willis McGahee may pick up some value in future games but has gone three weeks with virtually no production since the Ravens have not ended up near the endzone.

Wide Receivers: If anyone on this team is going to catch a touchdown, it will likely be Derrick Mason who leads the Ravens with four receiving touchdowns that came over the last five games. The interesting aspect to this week is that the one game where Mason disappeared (and completely with no catches) was the match against the Bengals. He scored in two games before and two games after but was blanked by the Bengals. That was a surprise since the Cincy secondary is nothing special. Expect a decent showing here by Mason unless he magically disappears again but there is no reason why it should happen. There should be one score via a wideout but it could go to any of them. Don't shy away from using Mason this week.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap remains a possession receiver and has around 40 yards in most games and turned in 41 yards on seven carries in the last meeting. But he has not scored since week two.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 12 1 15 23 13 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 27 7 18 28 8 12

Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  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 17-14 +8.5 42
6 HOU 17-28 -5.5 46
7 CHI 45-10 -1 42.5
8 BYE - - -
9 BAL - +3 43.5
10 @PIT - - -
11 @OAK - - -
12 CLE - - -
13 DET - - -
14 @MIN - - -
15 @SD - - -
16 KC - - -
17 @NYJ - - -
CIN vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     260,2
RB Cedric Benson 70,1 10  
WR Chad Ochocinco   100,1  
WR Laveranues Coles   40  
WR Andre Caldwell   40,1  
PK Shayne Graham   3 XP  

Pregame Notes: It must be insulting to beat the Ravens when your are 8.5 point underdogs and your last home game saw you win by 35 points. And then the Ravens show up this week and are still favored. This week is a big game and then they head straight to Pittsburgh for the next Sunday. If they Bengals win both of those games - and clearly they will not be favored - then they are in the driver's seat in the AFC North. The Bengals come off their bye week.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer passed for 233 yards and five touchdowns against the visiting Bears before resting these last two weeks and he has scored in each of the last five games including passing for 271 yards and one score in Baltimore in what has been his high yardage game of the season thus far. The Ravens away from Baltimore have always allowed at least two scores to each opposing quarterback with 250+ yards in the game. Look for a couple of scores in this rematch and healthy yardage as well.

Running Backs: No doubt the Ravens are on the prowl for Cedric Benson who went into Baltimore and rushed for 120 yards and a score to break string of games where the Ravens prevented a 100 yard rusher that started three years prior. Benson had his feel good game for his career when he shredded his ex-employer of the Bears for 189 yards on 37 carries with one score. Sort of exactly why they drafted him though he never came close to that in Chicago.

The Ravens are good against the run but Adrian Peterson had 143 yards against the them. Expect a lower production from Benson this week since the Ravens will plan to stop him first and foremost but he could still have a rushing score.

Wide Receivers: The last meeting with the Ravens saw Andre Caldwell score once on his two catches for 33 yards while Chad OchoCinco caught seven passes for 94 yards and Chris Henry turned in a season best 92 yards on three receptions. Laveranues Coles had no catches in that game and yet he has scored in each of the two matchups since. He remains around 40 yards each week but his scoring only helps the rest in making the defense account for even more receivers.

This week should be a touchdown for OchoCinco since the Ravens on the road have allowed the #1 wideout of each opponent to score and have decent yardage. The others will mix in for good totals but are not consistent enough to warrant consideration. I will away a second score to Caldwell but it could go anywhere among the wideouts.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 13 18 5 28 28 13
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 18 18 15 7 26 2

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