NFL Week 1 Pick: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:36 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 10:36 PM UTC

Both the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals expected to contend for the postseason in 2016, but neither finished with a winning record last year. By Sunday mid-afternoon, one team will already be in a hole.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-3, 43)

This series couldn’t be closer as it’s tied 21-21 all-time. Cincinnati has dominated in recent years, however, winning six of the past seven and five straight at home. Survivor Pick: Bengals.

Each head coach in this one, Baltimore’s John Harbaugh and Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis, is on the hot seat entering 2017. I frankly don’t expect either back next year but give the Bengals a better chance of contending for a playoff spot and saving Lewis’ job – he still has yet to win a postseason game in his career. Baltimore QB Joe Flacco injured his back while lifting weights during camp and didn’t play in the preseason. At least he’s available now. No team has been gutted more by season-ending player losses the past few months than the Ravens. They were: cornerback Tavon Young (ACL), tight ends Dennis Pitta (hip), Crockett Gillmore (knee) and Darren Waller (year-long suspension), running back Kenneth Dixon (knee), and offensive linemen John Urschel (retired) and Nico Siragusa (knee). That’s crazy. Cincinnati will be down one key player for this one as cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was suspended a game by the league for violating the personal conduct policy.

  • Ravens are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 road games.
  • Ravens are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Cincinnati.
  • Bengals are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games in Week 1.
Free NFL Pick: Bengals -3Best Line Offered: Betmania

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How will Flacco not be rusty? The Ravens initially said the injury was just going to cost Flacco a week, so either they were lying or it was misdiagnosed. Flacco could have used some preseason action to get in sync with young injury-prone receiver Breshad Perriman and new addition Jeremy Maclin. Flacco had a disappointing 2016 (disregard his club-record yardage) and the Ravens averaged just 21.4 points. Dixon will be sorely missed too. The Bengals focused offense in the 2017 draft in taking Washington speedster receiver John Ross in Round 1 and troubled but talented Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon in Round 2. While Mixon could be a contributor from the get-go, Ross has been banged up and is way behind. He won't play here. The Bengals closed last season with a 27-10 home win over the Ravens, and the other meeting in Baltimore ended 19-14 in favor of the home side. This total looks too high.

  • Under is 4-1 in Ravens last 5 vs. AFC North.
  • Under is 6-0 in Bengals last 6 vs. AFC.
  • Under is 20-8 in Bengals last 28 vs. AFC North.
Free NFL Pick: ‘Under’ 43Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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