After a week of bad primetime games, I think we’ve earned this one as a football watching community. The Cincinnati Bengals take on their division rival Baltimore Ravens in the ultra competitive and always entertaining AFC North. The Bengals started off the year on a cold streak as Joe Burrow’s calf strain held back the normally competitive offense. The Bengals looked like they were all the way back until stumbling against the suddenly interesting Houston Texans last week. That loss makes the Bengals stretch the next three weeks particularly interesting as they travel to Baltimore, return home against Pittsburgh, before heading to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars. Can the Bengals earn back their stripes or will they fade away in a crazy AFC?
Baltimore looked like they were going to put the finishing touches on their fifth straight win last week when the Browns made a big 4th quarter comeback. The Ravens had a 98% win expectation with 9 minutes left in the game before giving up 16 unanswered points. That would’ve given Baltimore a stranglehold on the division but this is the AFC North we’re talking about here! It has to be insane for as long as possible.
A Bengals win on Thursday can further muddy the waters in the division, setting up the winner of the Steelers - Browns game this Sunday to take over the division lead. As much as I like the chaos of that, I think the Ravens are the slightly better team and playing at home. They’ve got the better defense and Lamar Jackson is playing as well as anyone right now. I think they win, but it’ll be close. That’s not really much of a prediction though as these AFC North games always seem to be nailbiters. I think there’s a good chance the over hits in this one just because of these quarterbacks, but the trend has been largely in favor of the under for the Thursday Night Football games. I’ll role with the defenses to flex and bounce back from tough Week 10 outings.
Picks: Ravens moneyline, Bengals +3.5, under 46
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