Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Date and Time: Sunday, January 1, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Week 17 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Bengals -2.5, 41.5
Ravens vs. Bengals TV Coverage: CBS
With a win last week, the Ravens would have won the division and been the sole AFC North representative in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the defense was unable to withstand the Steelers final onslaught with Big Ben leading Pittsburgh on a 10 play drive in the game’s final minute that resulted in the winning touchdown scored with just 13 ticks remaining on the clock.
It was a backbreaker for a defense that did a reasonable job of containing the Steelers offense for a majority of the game picking Roethlisberger off twice while deflecting numerous other passes. But once Pittsburgh spread the Ravens defense out, it had a much easier time of picking on a Baltimore Ravens defense without its best pass defender in Jimmy Smith.
It’s been a bothersome season to say the least for the Bengals who’ve simply been destroyed by the injury bug even before training camp began. Heading into their Week 16 clash at Houston, the Bengals were without the services of wide receiver A. J. Green, running back Giovani Bernard and tight end Tyler Eifert. That’s some major firepower there, and that trio was sorely missed in a 12-10 loss against the Texans.
Even with all the injuries, the Bengals gave the AFC South leaders all they could handle and more. Had Randy Bullock successfully converted a chip shot 43-yarder at the end of the game, they would’ve won the game. But they didn’t, and it fell in line with the numerous disappointments this team has put forth all season long. They’ll return home looking to close the season out on a high and pull a game over .500 as a host in the process.
These division rivals met back in Week 12 in a game that saw limited scoring and only two touchdowns scored with the kickers stealing the show. Mike Nugent booted a pair of field goals while Justin Tucker converted four en route to leading the Ravens to the 19-14 home win and cover as 3.5 point favorites. The 33 combined points saw the under cash for the second time in as many recent meetings.
The Bengals have held serve each of the last four times they hosted this rivalry and covered the closing number in three of those contests. Baltimore scored an average of 18.5 points per game, while the Bengals went for at least 23 in each. The over cashed at a 2-1-1 clip.
Ravens vs. Bengals Free Picks
Baltimore is the better team in this matchup, but not by much. However, I find it awfully hard to find any kind of motivation coming from John Harbaugh’s squad who had so much to fight for last week and absolutely nothing this week. This has mail it in and look towards next season written all over it. As for Cincinnati, it has a few things to shoot for. The first being closing the year out with a win at home to claw over .500 in front of the hometown faithful. The second would be to avoid getting swept by their division rival for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
Up until last week, the Ravens had failed to cover the NFL odds at BookMaker.eu in five straight road games. The only two covered came against AFC north opposition which moved them to an impressive 8-0 against the spread their last eight versus divisional opposition. Still, I can’t help but think the Ravens fail to even get off the bus for this one. Cincy has covered eight of the last 11 times it hosted this rivalry and I firmly expect them to win this one going away.
Ravens vs. Bengals ATS Pick: Bengals -2.5 at BookMaker.eu
Ravens vs. Bengals Score Prediction: Bengals 28 – Ravens 10