Considering what happened in the rain at Cleveland last Sunday, the rugged AFC North looks like it will be wide open.
So Thursday night’s visit to Cincinnati by Baltimore takes on an extra bit of importance, even in mid-September, after the division-favorite Steelers stumbled and bumbled to a 21-21 tie against the Browns.
The Ravens were all over Buffalo from the start as Joe Flacco recaptured some of that 2012 championship form and the defense destroyed the Bills. The Bengals fell in a big hole at Indianapolis and showed far more gumption than usual by climbing out of it to win.
Two teams many projected as also-rans for 2018 delivered some impressive opening performances.
“That game is behind us,” Ravens safety Tony Jefferson says. “Although it’s great to have momentum, it’s over with. It’s a new week. This is a division opponent; they know us very well and we know them very well.”
Perhaps. But these Bengals seem to have a resilience not seen often in recent seasons, though Cincinnati did show such moxie in the previous meeting with Baltimore.
The Ravens ended the season hosting the Bengals and fell 31-27 on Andy Dalton’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd with 44 seconds left. That eliminated Baltimore from the playoffs and sent Buffalo into the postseason.
The Ravens, ranked No. 9 in the AP Pro32, and No. 16 Bengals are pick-em at Paul Brown Stadium. It’s hard to fathom that Pro Picks is predicting Cincinnati will start the season 2-0. But that’s where we’ll go.