eye-3-yellow-3d-2-new-logo philly_kyw_new philly_94wip_new 35h_cbssportsrad_philly philly_wpht_new

TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 1: Baltimore Ravens Vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Ravens
Bengals
AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Quarterback
Winner Joe Flacco rarely gets categorized with the top quarterbacks in the game, but what he lacks in notoriety he makes up for in guts. Flacco has a plus arm, is usually at his best in big games and his teammates believe in him.
Little was expected from the Bengals in 2011, particularly with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton taking over for Carson Palmer. However, Dalton started all 16 games, threw for more than 3,000 yards and developed into one of the league’s most surprising up-and-coming players. Look for more improvement from Dalton because he sees the field well, makes good decisions and he takes care of the ball.
Offense
Winner Few NFL teams can get the explosive plays out of their running game that the Ravens get with speedy Ray Rice. Anquan Boldin is not a fancy or polished wide receiver. However, he is a tough guy who will make plays even if he does not run the most polished route. Torrey Smith is one of Flacco’s favorite receivers because he will not drop the ball.
The most exciting player on the offensive side of the ball is wide receiver A.J. Green, who caught 65 passes as a rookie for 1,057 yards. He has speed and can go up and get the ball. Look for hard-working BenJarvus Green-Ellis to take advantage of a solid offensive line and give the Bengals a credible ground game.
Special Teams
Winner The Ravens will not have outside linebacker Terrell Suggs to rush the passer for quite a while, but they still have Ray Lewis to run the show from the left inside linebacker spot. Yes, he has slowed down but he’s still a leader. Free safety Ed Reed and strong safety Bernard Pollard are a joy to behold.
Mike Zimmer has done an excellent job turning the Bengal defense into a fast-moving and hard-hitting bunch. The Bengals ranked fourth in yards allowed per play last season. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins destroys the interior run.

The Winner Is

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
Winner Ravens
3 out of 3

The Bengals usually struggle when expectations are anything but a losing season. Andy Dalton must pick up from where he left off and Marvin Lewis must shepherd the team along. The Ravens are perennial contenders and last year’s painful AFC Championship game loss to New England may spur them this season. Baltimore controls the season opener.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. San Diego Chargers v San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: San Diego Chargers At Arizona Cardinals

    Philip Rivers went into the 2013 season with questions about his performance hanging over his head, but he answered those questions with ease last year as he enjoyed a brilliant year. Rivers and Chargers head coach Mike McCoy developed an excellent rapport, and that manifested itself in Rivers’ performance.

  2. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: New York Giants At Detroit Lions

    After back-to-back subpar seasons from Eli Manning, this is a critical year in his career.

  3. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts At Denver Broncos

    Andrew Luck has had two solid seasons to start his career, and he should be coming into his own in his third year.

See All Tales of the Tape
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31,612 other followers