Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals: Thursday night spoils to go to the home team again
Thursday Night football is a proper divisional match-up this week as Baltimore head to Cincinnati. Both sides enjoyed big wins in their opening games, so who can keep their momentum going?
"In his first year as the undisputed no.1 back in Cincinnati, Mixon touched the ball 22 times for 149 yards and a touchdown. Andy Dalton was as strong as ever and AJ Green continues to be excellent at Wide Receiver."
Joe answers his critics in fine style
What a start it was for the Ravens in week one. Quarterback Joe Flacco is now in his 11th NFL season and was feeling a little pressure, with many believing that after a poor 2017 he should be benched and replaced by Lamar Jackson. That did end up happening but only because their game against the woeful Bills turned into a blowout. Flacco completed 25 of 34 passes for 236 yards and three scores before being rested.
Baltimore have rung the changes at WR and it payed off big time on Sunday with Michael Crabtree, Willie Sneed & John Brown all heavily involved. All three are great receivers, Sneed was an unsung hero in New Orleans while a fit and, well, Crabtree would get into any team in the NFL. The Ravens already look far better this year than last year.
Ravens stop the Bills but how bad were Buffalo?
Then there is the Ravens defence, although it is hard to judge from Sunday's stroll. Yes, the Ravens limited Buffalo to just 153 yards, marking just the second time since 2012 that the Ravens have held a team under 155 yards but we also must admit that the Bills were truly awful. Nathan Peterman looks completely out of his depth here and I would be shocked if the Bills do not start Josh Allen against the Chargers. They will find the Bengals a much harder team to hold and we should have more of an idea how strong they are defensively then
Joe adds to the Bengals' offensive Mix
The Bengals also got off to a winning start on Sunday, and in doing so have released their new secret weapon in Joe Mixon. In his first year as the undisputed no.1 back in Cincinnati, Mixon touched the ball 22 times for 149 yards and a touchdown. Andy Dalton was as strong as ever and AJ Green continues to be excellent at WR. The Bengals may just make the play-offs where they would get the chance to end one of the longest unwanted runs going, the Bengals have not won a playoff game since 1990.
The Bengals managed to take the ball away from the Colts twice on Sunday, both at crucial times. The first was when the Colts were on Cincinnati's four-yard line and the other iced the game when Clayton Fejedelem returned a fumble 83 yards for a touchdown. Another performance like that is needed to stop Flacco and his talented wide receivers. They also managed to outscore the Colts 17-0 in the fourth quarter on Sunday, finishing strong is a trend that wins games. Ask any New Orleans fan.
Since Thursday Night Football began the home side has won in a little over 60% of the games. In truth many of the players over the years have come out against it, feeling that the short timespan between games takes a tough toll on the body. This means it always worth considering the home side no matter who they are playing. We simply don't know how good the Ravens were because the Bills were so bad. Cincinnati's victory against the Colts looks to have been the more impressive of the two.
Joe adds to the Bengals' offensive Mix
The match is currently a one point handicap in favour of Baltimore, but I would take the Bengals on the money line at 19/20 as I do feel that they have too much for the Ravens.
In the Touchdown markets we look to Joe Mixon. The second-year running back was the focus of Cincinnati's redesigned offense on Sunday, getting all but one of the carries and finishing second in receiving. At 6/1 for first touchdown, he looks like value.