Three matchups to watch: Ravens at Bengals

Three matchups to watch: Ravens at Bengals
December 28, 2013, 10:15 am
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Ravens need to end road woes against Bengals

 We know the Bengals will be in the playoffs. The Ravens hope to join them.  Here are three matchups to watch in Sunday’s Ravens-Bengals game that will help determine the Ravens’ fate.

1. Bengals LT Anthony Collins and RT Andre Smith vs. Ravens LB Terrell Suggs

The Ravens had five sacks against the Bengals last month, and Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs both got the best of Collins and Smith. However, the Ravens’ pass rush has been dormant recently and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton usually plays much better at home. Dumervil, who is questionable with ankle injury,  and Suggs need to harass Dalton, or the Bengals’ offense will roll.

[RELATED: Ngata, Suggs, Tucker, and Yanda are Pro Bowlers]

2. Bengals cornerback Adam Jones vs. Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith

Jacoby Jones is also a deep threat for the Ravens, but Smith is their best receiver and needs to step up for this game. Smith has failed to top 70 yards in receiving for three straight games, and he and Joe Flacco have missed on some opportunities for big plays. Jones is the Bengals’ best corner and Smith needs to win their matchups when he has one-on-one coverage. 

3. Bengals running backs BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Gionvani Bernard vs. Ravens run defense 

Green-Ellis has 690 yards rushing and Bernard has 673. That’s what you call sharing the load. Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees was not happy with the run defense against the Patriots.

“I didn’t like the last drive when it was 20-7 and we couldn’t get off the field,” Pees said. “That was not good.”

The Ravens’ defense has shown a recent tendency to wear down in the second half. If the Ravens do not contain Green-Ellis and Bernard, it could be another long day for the defense.