TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Cincinnati Bengals At Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals
Baltimore Ravens
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Quarterback
The AFC North title may very well come down to these two teams, so this opening game should be among the hardest hitting and most entertaining on the schedule. While Andy Dalton has had a slew of problems competing in postseason games, he is adequate in the regular season. He threw 33 TD passes last season and he has an excellent rapport with wide receiver A.J. Green.
Winner The Ravens would like to bounce back from a disappointing season and challenge New England and Denver in the AFC. Joe Flacco is a strong-armed quarterback who has proven himself in the postseason, but he is coming off a below-average season in which he had a 19-22 TD-interception ratio. While those numbers were disappointing, Flacco remains a confident signal caller.
Offense
Winner The Bengals have the talent on the offensive side to light up the scoreboard. Green is one of the most dangerous receivers in the game, and he is especially dangerous when it comes to stretching the field and catching the deep ball. Running back Gio Bernard has excellent change of direction and can take the heat off of Dalton with his running ability.
Winner Bernard Pierce gets an opportunity at the running back position because Ray Rice has been suspended for the first two games. Look for a monster effort from Pierce, who wants to show head coach John Harbaugh that he is the best running back on the team. Look for veteran wide receiver Steve Smith to show that he is still dangerous. Torrey Smith is a gamebreaker at the other WR spot.
Defense
Winner The Bengals have built a talented and physical defense, but charismatic defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer left to become head coach of the Vikings and that could hurt them. However, defensive tackle Geno Atkins is one of the best run stuffers in the league and fellow DT Domata Peko is also solid. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a star who had 171 tackles and 3.0 sacks last season.
The Ravens played surprisingly well on defense last year and they could be even better this year. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata anchors the defensive line, while aggressive Terrell Suggs had 10.0 sacks last year and is usually at his best when the game is on the line. Rookie C.J. Mosley has size, strength and speed, and he should be an impact player.
Special Teams
The Bengals are average on special teams as placekicker Mike Nugent made 18-of-22 FG attempts last year and punter Kevin Huber had a 45.2-yard gross average. Brandon Tate is a fairly good return man who has averaged 24.8 yards per kickoff return.
Winner The Ravens should continue to have stellar special teams play again this season. Justin Tucker is one of the best placekickers in the league, and he is coming off a year in which he made 38-of-41 field goals, including a long of 61. Jacoby Jones is one of the most dangerous return men in the league.

The Winner Is

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Winner Baltimore Ravens
3 out of 4

This should be one of the best games of the opening weekend of the season, but the Ravens may have the edge because they are playing at home and Flacco is motivated to rebound from a subpar season. Look for Smith to have a huge game in his first regular-season appearance with the Ravens.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants breaks a tackle by Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins in the second half at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25:   Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against Everson Griffen #97 and Tom Johnson #92 of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1st half during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: New York Giants At Minnesota Vikings

    The Vikings defense has annihilated every opponent so far. Can they do it to the explosive Giants offense this week?

  2. KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Center Mitch Morse #61 of the Kansas City Chiefs prepares to snap the ball to Alex Smith #11 at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game against the New York Jets on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes against  Bennie Logan #96 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: Kansas City Chiefs At Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Chiefs and Steelers battle it out in a match-up of AFC playoff contenders.

  3. ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Running back Carlos Hyde #28 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 37-18.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys At San Francisco 49ers

    The Cowboys have been rolling with rookie QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott. They look to continue that momentum this week.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Connecticut

CBS Hartford 4 Charity
Win Red Sox Tickets All Season
The Latest UConn News

Listen Live