Ravens take pride in winning AFC North
In some ways, Sunday's Bengals-Ravens match-up means something. But in most ways, it doesn't as both teams are in the playoffs, and the Ravens need a New England loss to move up while the Bengals are stuck at No. 6.
So, this could wind up looking a whole lot like a pre-season game in some ways, especially because there is a chance the two teams could meet again the following weekend in a playoff contest.
So here's a few of my guesses as to what we might see this weekend:
1. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and the offense are going to want to keep that good roll they had last week going. Here's guessing we see that fast-paced show once more with plenty of mid-range passes -- hopefully over the middle again -- and that Rice will get plenty of touches.
2. Andy Dalton is a good young quarterback who's led the Bengals well in his first two seasons. But he's never beaten the Ravens, and if they have a chance to move up, he won't beat them again.
3. Dannell Ellerbe, Terrell Suggs and friends will play well in this game. The defense had a good effort in the rout of the Giants and would likely want to go into the playoffs with the momentum from two straight strong performances.
4. John Harbaugh said earlier this week that he wants the Ravens to keep improving and getting better, no matter what the results show. So they'll play hard throughout regardless of the situation.
5. The Ravens are going to want a good overall effort because this season has been up and down in so many ways and consistency will help them heading into post-season play. After losing three straight games, the Ravens were solid last week. They'll want more of the same in this game-- especially since it's on the road.