The Bengals host the Baltimore Ravens in a prime-time Week 2 showdown on Thursday Night Football, and these five matchups will be crucial for a Cincinnati victory.
The Cincinnati Bengals got their 2018 campaign off on the right foot by knocking off the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 by a score of 34-23. While it took a 17-point rally in the fourth quarter to ensure head coach Marvin Lewis’ squad would start off the season 1-0, and despite a mere 330 yards of total offense in the game, this win should put the Bengals into a nice position as they prepare for a prime-time Thursday Night Football bout against their AFC North division rivals, the Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore, fresh off a 47-3 thrashing of the Buffalo Bills in their home opener, will look to continue that momentum at Paul Brown Stadium to see which team takes an early hold atop the division.
The Bengals are currently one-point favorites for the contest, according to Odds Shark. If Lewis and Co. want to take this early lead atop the AFC North, they’ll have to win out a number of key matchups throughout this short-week contest. They’ll have to do so without linebacker Vontaze Burfict (suspension), and possibly without EDGE Carlos Dunlap (calf) and linebacker Preston Brown (ankle), who are both listed as questionable for the game.
Those injuries are a cause for concern. And yet Cincy’s offense will look to replicate its efforts from Week 1 against an aging-but-stout Ravens defense.
And it will all start up front.
So let’s start there, as we break down five key matchups the Bengals will need to win if they want to start off the season 2-0.