Week 2 TNF Capper Court: Majority Leans to Ravens in Cincinnati

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 11:52 AM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2018 11:52 AM UTC

Welcome to the "Capper Court," where five of SBR's NFL handicappers will provide their opinions on Thursday night and Sunday night NFL games. The majority rules! It's Ravens at Bengals to kick off Week 2.

Baltimore Ravens (1-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network)Free Majority Pick: Ravens (Pick'em Opening Line)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Matthew Jordan:

The all-time series between AFC North rivals is tied 22-22, and they both opened 2018 with wins Sunday. They have split the past two seasons, with the road team winning each in 2017. Cincinnati opened last year with an offensively inept 20-0 home loss to the Ravens. Andy Dalton had perhaps his worst game as a pro, completing just 16 of 31 for 170 yards and four interceptions while also losing a fumble. Cincinnati finished with 221 yards in seeing its five-game home winning streak in the series end. Baltimore wasn’t great shakes, either, offensively with 268 yards. Joe Flacco was 9-for-17 for 121 yards with a touchdown and interception, but Baltimore had 157 on the ground to easily win time of possession and the Ravens gave it away only once. In Week 17, the Bengals gutted the Ravens in Baltimore to knock them out of a wild-card spot.

Two key defensive players on each side remain suspended: linebacker Vontaze Burfict for the Bengals and cornerback Jimmy Smith for the Ravens. Smith presumably would have been the guy on Cincinnati star WR AJ Green, so look for Green to have a big game. I’ll be taking the home teams on Thursday nights most of the time and will here even though Baltimore looked utterly dominant on Sunday – take into account the Ravens’ competition was quarterback-putrid Buffalo. People are overreacting to that.

Swinging Johnson:

An interesting matchup between two teams that posted impressive performances last week. The visiting Ravens earned a box-to-wire victory with a 47-3 decimation of the Bills in Buffalo, while the Bengals rallied to ruin Andrew Luck’s return after 20 months on the shelf when they secured a 34-23 road win. Baltimore will be seeking redemption against Cincinnati after suffering a 31-27 loss as eight-point home chalk in their last regular season game of 2017.

The public will be siding with the Ravens in this game because their defense looked so dominating and their offense so explosive in their 44-point win in the opening week. But the Bills are woeful, and the Ravens’ six sacks were against a porous Buffalo offensive line with a quarterback right out of the shell in Nathan Peterman and then Josh Allen. Joe Flacco has struggled in his nine career games in the Queen City, tossing six touchdowns and 13 interceptions reaping a 61.8 passer rating. Baltimore is 4-6 ATS over their last 10 games played in Cincinnati and it would not be surprising to see the Ravens come back to earth after battering a weak opponent in a game where everything went their way. Back the Cats.

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In 2013, @AJGreen_18 made this jaw-dropping grab TO SEND THEM TO OT!@Ravens. @Bengals. Thursday on @NFLNetwork! (8:20pm ET) #TNF pic.twitter.com/n5RQFoIhOG

— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) September 12, 2018

Doug Upstone:

Baltimore played a near flawless game against Buffalo in blowing them out 47-3 as 7.5-point favorites. This was a continuation of what we saw in the preseason from the Ravens and Joe Flacco taking his job more seriously since Baltimore drafted Lamar Jackson in the first round. Besides the attitude adjustment by Flacco, he's become more dutiful in his footwork and is not making as many off-balance throws that were 50-50 balls for interceptions. Cincinnati had to come from behind to oust Indianapolis but showed more courage than recent Bengals teams.

Cincinnati figures to be fearless at home against Baltimore since they have a 14-8 and 13-9 ATS record at home against them. The Baltimore defense received a lot of praise for their effort last week, but the Bengals’ Andy Dalton on a bad day is better than what Buffalo has a quarterback right now. These Thursday tilts are always challenging, but I'll back the Birds since they are 10-1 ATS in past 11 after scoring 40 or more points.

Kevin Stott:

The Ravens have been good vs. the AFC North the L2 seasons (9-3 ATS) and have some needed newfound depth at the QB (Flacco-Rookie Jackson-RGIII) and WR (Crabtree-Brown-Snead) positions and are coming off a Week 1 success where they scored in every quarter (14, 12, 14, 7) and saw their Defense limit the Bills to 153 Total Yards while registering 6 Sacks and having 2 Interceptions. The Bengals had the NFL’s worst Offense in 2017 (280.5 ypg) and will need to get the crowd involved and that may be hard against Za’Darius Smith and the Ravens who’ve covered their L3 Road games.

With the 3 point move from (BALT - 3 to PICK) — you can actually get Baltimore +1 at Pinnacle — there’s perceived value on the Blackbirds here, who won in this spot at Paul Brown Stadium last season, 20-0. The Bengals are 17-29 ATS at Home in September but 4-2 ATS on TNF in the Queen City and 3-0 ATS on Thursdays facing an opponent off a SU/ATS win while Baltimore is 1-3 ATS on the Road on Thursdays. Bucking the Thursday Night Trends and backing a Ravens squad feeling good with a newlook Roster and HC Harbaugh (90-77-9 ATS) focused.


I like the Ravens not even because of their dominant opener against Buffalo or because of their desire to avenge this same Bengals team that kept them from making the playoffs last season. The key statistic is that Marvin Lewis is 8-30 in prime-time games. The poor prime-time performance extends in terms of record and passer rating to Andy Dalton. Baltimore showed in its opener that it still carries tremendous depth in the secondary even with a couple players missing to injury and suspension. Dalton will face a much tougher test in Baltimore than in his season opener in Indianapolis. The Ravens allowed 70 passing yards to Buffalo quarterbacks. Dalton will do better, but not much. Last year, the Bengals were 1-5 SU and ATS when Dalton threw for under 200 yards.

On the flip side, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco showed good rapport with his different receivers, six of whom had at least three receptions. His most famous new target, Michael Crabtree, found the end zone. Flacco only needs to be efficient and avoid turnovers because his defense excels at forcing them.

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