Ravens +5 ½ vs. Bengals for your NFL Picks

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 2:34 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 2:34 PM GMT

The Ravens are playing for their playoffs lives this week in Cincinnati, and not only do they need to win, but after their embarrassing loss in Week 16, the Ravens not only need a win, but they need the Dolphins to lose to make the playoffs.

The NFL Odds have the Bengals as -5 ½ favorites in this spot, with a total of 44 ½. Will Baltimore keep the hope alive this week, or will the Bengals secure the #3 seed in the AFC with another win?

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Offensive failures

The Ravens were held to 358 total yards in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, (more than the Patriots’ 300) however I’m not sure what’s worse, only getting 358 total yards, or allowing 41 points to the Patriots on 300 total yards. Turnovers at the end of the game wrecked this stat line for the Ravens, however it has been somewhat of a story of their season. Right when you think they have turned it around, they put up a stinker.

Even though the Ravens had their running game going a little bit in this game, it was not enough. Four turnovers to zero is not going to get it done, and even though New England’s defense is probably better than Cincinnati’s, the Bengals still have at least a little left to play for.

The Bengals are currently the #3 seed in the AFC, and the only way they drop to the 4th seed is a Colts win and Bengals loss. The Colts will almost surely win as they play the Jaguars, (the Colts are 5-0 SU against the AFC South this season) but they could also rest some key players.

The Sharp Pick

The Ravens are 3-1 ATS in their last four games against the Bengals overall, and I think they continue this streak this week. The Bengals will play hard, but I think the Ravens at +5 ½ are great value this week, and I am taking the points. I think they are slightly undervalued after getting waxed by the Patriots, and although I know the Bengals don’t want to play the Chiefs in the first round, if the Colts rest players on Sunday as well, look for the Bengals to do some of the same to their important veterans. Both games are early games.

The Bengals’ secondary is not as good as the Patriots’ secondary, and I think that will aid the Ravens in this game as well. Joe Flacco and the offense looked sloppy, but I don’t think it was all on them. The Pats and Matt Patricia deserve a lot of credit for why the Ravens played the way they did on offense.

I could easily see guys like James Harrison and other veterans getting limited reps in this game for the Bengals, and I think that may have an affect on this young team. If the Bengals decide to rest some of their veterans, it could send a bad message to the rest of the young team. Look for the more experienced Ravens to turn things around this week, so take the points with Baltimore for your NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Ravens +5 ½

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