I have the Bengals and Ravens rated about the same at the moment. I think the Ravens will end up wining the AFC North and the Bengals will finish third in the division. Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green are special talents on the Bengals offense. The defense has a lot of great players too. However, one reason to go against the Bengals this week is the pressure of a new contract on Andy Dalton. The Bengals quarterback has been above average in his three seasons and earned the kind of money that most starting NFL quarterbacks receive. I think the pressure of playing in his first game since the big payday will hurt him against a well-coached Ravens defense.
Another reason to pick the Ravens is a change in offensive scheme. Gary Kubiak is now the offensive coordinator in Baltimore. I think he will help Joe Flaaco improve this season. Steve Smith is a great pickup to play along with Torrey Smith. The Ray Rice absence doesn’t mean much and Bernard Pierce can be a serviceable running back. I think the Ravens should be a three-point favorite in this game.
Pick: Ravens (-1)