Baltimore Ravens And Cincinnati Bengals: Tales Of Two Different Teams
USA TODAY Sports

It is critical that the Baltimore Ravens take the Cincinnati Bengals out of the AFC North division title hunt. The Ravens can't afford to go 0-2 on the season against the Bengals. It is time for the Ravens to get even. In week 8, there doesn't look like there is a better time for the Ravens to strike against the Bengals than right now.

The Bengals started their season off well in week 1 going on the road and defeating the Ravens 23-16. The Bengals looked like a serious contender for the Super Bowl at the time with the Bengals defense shutting out the Ravens offense in the first half and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton doing just enough to keep the Ravens defense honest.

Fast forward seven weeks later and it is the Ravens in the drivers seat with a 5-2 record sitting in first place in the AFC North and the Bengals sitting in second place in the division with a 3-2-1 record after starting the season off with a 3-0 record.

In the passing game, both teams are in opposite worlds at the moment. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is having the best start to a season in his seven year career with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. A lot of that has to do with the addition of wide receiver Steve Smith who has 38 receptions for 640 yards and four touchdowns. The addition of a very productive running game for the Ravens running back Justin Forsett with the fourth most rushing yards in the NFL with 503 certainly doesn't hurt either.

The Ravens also have great balance on the offensive side of the ball ranking eighth in the NFL in yards per game and sixth in the NFL in points per game.

The Bengals on the other hand have been a mess. Bengals' star wide receiver A.J. Green dealing with a chronic toe injury since week 1 and has been sidelined over the last two games which has completely destroyed the Bengals efficiency on offense.

With Green unable to run routes, Dalton is off to a slow start this season with six touchdown passes and three interceptions with 1,375 passing yards through six games this season. Green's absence has completely made the Bengals' offense inept at the worst possible time.

"We was flying high going into that (Week 4) bye and now we like the scum of the crop right now," Green noted via NFL.com. "We've got to block all of the outside stuff because I believe this team we handle that stuff very well. ... We just put our head down, and it's time to grind now. Our back's against the wall."

The Bengals also just witnessed their worst performance of the season in week 7 being shutout on the road against the Indianapolis Colts 27-0.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens arguably have the best defense in the NFL only allowing 14 points a game through seven games this season and the Bengals defense which many thought would be in the conversation with the Ravens as the best defense in the NFL has taken a nose dive allowing 23 points a game.

The opportunity for the Ravens to take out the Bengals in week 8 is legit. A win by the Ravens against the Bengals to improve their record to 6-2 on the season can create doubt in the Bengals locker room going forward.

The Ravens wouldn't have it any other way.

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