3-and-out: Can Ravens win on the road?
1. The Bengals know how to protect home turf.
No matter how the Bengals approach Sunday’s game, the Ravens can expect a tough assignment. The Bengals are 7-0 at home, joining the Patriots and Saints as the only NFL teams unbeaten at home. The Bengals can still clinch a first-round bye, with a victory, coupled with a Patriots loss. So the Bengals have something to play for, and they would like to end the season on a positive note. The Ravens have struggled on the road all season (2-5), and their final road game will be another tough one.
2. Odd that all of Justin Tucker’s missed field goals have come at home
Tucker’s streak of 33 made field goals ended Sunday when he missed from 37 yards. The Ravens were down 20-0 in the fourth quarter when Tucker missed, and the decision to try a field goal, rather than going for it on fourth down, can be second-guessed. Tucker has only missed three field goals all year, but he is a perfect 20 for 20 on the road. Maybe it’s a good thing for the Ravens that they are headed to Cincinnati. At least it could be good for Tucker.
3. The Ravens would be the lowest-scoring playoff team.
Among the teams still in playoff contention, no team is averaging fewer points than the Ravens, 20.2 per game. Offense rules in today’s NFL and the Ravens are not keeping up. The top nine teams in scoring have either clinched a playoff berth, or they still have a chance for the postseason. Even if the Ravens make the playoffs, they will not advance very far unless they start scoring more.
Extra point: If the Ravens and Steelers both miss the playoffs, it will be the first time since 2007 that the AFC North has just one playoff team.