Scouting report for Ravens-Bengals game Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium

RAVENS PASSING GAME: The Ravens aren’t consistently getting big plays downfield as they average a league-low 5.8 yards per passing attempt, but Joe Flacco is having success working the short and intermediate areas and not forcing throws. Flacco has eight touchdown passes and two interceptions over his past six games. Those are the Ravens’ only two turnovers since their Week 10 bye. Ten receivers caught passes last week against the Indianapolis Colts with Jeremy Maclin sidelined.

BENGALS PASSING GAME: Andy Dalton’s 60.6 percent completion rate is his worst since his rookie campaign in 2011. His 206.5 passing yards per game is also a career low. In 12 career games against the Ravens, Dalton has thrown 17 interceptions. It’s inconceivable that a team with all-world receiver A.J. Green ranks last in total offense and 28th in passing offense and points per game. The Bengals have used seven offensive line combinations this year. Dalton has been sacked 38 times.

EDGE: EVEN

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RAVENS RUNNING GAME: Alex Collins needs 105 rushing yards against the Bengals to hit 1,000 for the season. Over his past two games, Collins is averaging just 2.3 yards per carry and hasn’t broken the tackles that he was running through earlier this year. His primary backup, Buck Allen, is finding more holes and appears to be getting stronger with increased opportunities. The Ravens rank 15th in rushing yards per game (115.9), but short-yardage situations continue to be a struggle.

BENGALS RUNNING GAME: The Bengals started the season with a three-headed backfield of veterans Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard and rookie Joe Mixon, but Hill made it through just seven games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Mixon is dealing with a sore ankle, leaving Bernard as the last man standing in recent weeks. Bernard had 168 all-purpose yards last week. The Bengals are averaging just 81.3 rushing yards per game, which ranks 31st in the NFL, and have just six rushing scores.

EDGE: RAVENS

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RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: This group allowed fewer than 80 rushing yards for six straight weeks, but it gave up 130 on the ground two weeks ago to the Cleveland Browns and 93 last week to the Colts. Teams have had some success attacking the Ravens up the middle, where Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce play. Williams didn’t have a run stop last week for the second time this season. C.J. Mosley is eighth in the league with 126 tackles. He’s eight away from setting a career high.

BENGALS RUSH DEFENSE: Marvin Lewis’ teams typically stop the run, but not this one. Only the Los Angeles Chargers are allowing more than the 128.5 rushing yards per game the Bengals are surrendering. Cincinnati is also allowing 4.2 yards per carry. A big reason for the Bengals’ struggles is an inability to keep their linebackers healthy. Week 1 starters Nick Vigil and Kevin Minter are on IR and Vontaze Burfict has been banged up. The Bengals allowed 157 rushing yards to the Ravens in Week 1.

EDGE: RAVENS

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RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: The Ravens aren’t mounting as consistent a pass rush as they were earlier this season and are also getting hurt in the middle of the field. Even their blitzes haven’t gotten home as often. The Ravens intercepted Andy Dalton four times in the season opener while earning a shutout. Terrell Suggs, who had two sacks in that game, has only a half-sack over his past three. Rookie Marlon Humphrey has played well in Jimmy Smith’s absence and could see a lot of Green.

BENGALS PASS DEFENSE: Veteran cornerback Adam Jones is on IR, but the Bengals still have a talented secondary and that’s reflected by their No. 7 ranking against the pass. William Jackson is emerging as a top-flight corner and Dre Kirkpatrick is also talented, although he’s struggled with penalties. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins leads the team with nine sacks and is one of the best players at his position in the league. No Bengal has more than one interception.

EDGE: BENGALS

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RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: Justin Tucker has converted 17 consecutive field-goal attempts and he’s kicked in difficult weather conditions the past couple of weeks. The Ravens lead the league in kickoff-return average (26.4) and are second in punt-return average (10.8). Bengals kicker Randy Bullock is in the middle of the pack in touchbacks, so kick returner Chris Moore should get some opportunities. The Ravens had a punt blocked last week and need to get that cleaned up.

BENGALS SPECIAL TEAMS: Bullock is having a solid season, connecting on 17 of his 19 field-goal attempts and 27 of his 29 extra-point tries. He has just one attempt over 50 yards, and it was good. Kevin Huber is eighth in the league with a gross punting average of 47 yards and he’s dropped 32 punts inside the 20-yard line. That’s second in the NFL to the Ravens’ Sam Koch. Alex Erickson averages 20.8 yards per kickoff return and 7.2 per punt return.

EDGE: RAVENS

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RAVENS INTANGIBLES: John Harbaugh’s team has handled this “win-and-in” scenario well for the past couple of weeks, so there’s no reason to expect the Ravens to play tight Sunday. The Ravens have won four straight games at home and have allowed only 16.4 points per game at M&T Bank Stadium this season. It’s not always pretty, but the Ravens have stuck to an effective offensive formula in the second half of the season and have not turned the ball over. They appear primed for the postseason.

BENGALS INTANGIBLES: After Cincinnati lost back-to-back games to the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings by a 67-14 margin, it was certainly fair to question the Bengals’ motivation. However, they showed something in derailing the Detroit Lions’ playoff hopes last week. They also should get a little jolt this week with speculation that this could be Lewis’ final game as coach. Cincinnati is 2-5 on the road and has been turnover- and penalty-prone all season.

EDGE: RAVENS

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PREDICTION: It looked inevitable for weeks that the Ravens would have to beat the Bengals, a team that has given them more trouble than perhaps any other, to secure a trip to the postseason. This won’t be easy. The banged-up Bengals still have elite talent at a few positions, and expecting them to rollover is underestimating the rivalry these teams have and the respect Cincinnati players hold for Lewis. Still, the Ravens have come too far to slip up now. They’ll be tested, but they’re much easier to trust at home.

Ravens, 23-20

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