Murphy's Law was in the house in Week 5 when the Ravens were ambushed at home by the Bengals, 17-14. It was a game played almost in slow motion -- at least by the Ravens -- and a loss that shouldn't have happened.

Why? Because anything that could go wrong, did, from the 10 penalties the Ravens incurred to the Bengals' penalties that weren't called to the stellar job Cincinnati's patchwork offensive line did against the Ravens' pass rush.

Advertisement

That was the game that cost Ray Lewis $25,000 for the thundering hit that separated Chad Ochocinco from his helmet. It was the game where Andre Caldwell caught the game-winning touchdown after throwing nickel back Chris Carr to the ground by his facemask and getting away with it. It was where Ochocinco tackled cornerback Domonique Foxworth rather than allow him to make an interception -- and didn't get flagged, either.

Unless the Ravens are afflicted with the same lethargy, Sunday in Cincinnati figures to be different. The Ravens have figured out a few things since then, and reinforced others.

The defense finally went back to the attack mode against Denver. The Ravens played multiple fronts, used more blitzes and beat up on quarterback Kyle Orton. Carson Palmer should be forewarned. He was sacked only once in the first game. If he's sacked only once today, the Bengals could easily win this game.

The other key for the defense is getting after Cedric Benson, who snapped the Ravens' streak for not allowing a 100-yard rusher at 40 games. Benson is good, but he isn't that good. The Ravens missed too many tackles that day. Linebacker Antwan Barnes, in fact, hasn't played since missing a tackle on Benson's 28-yard touchdown run.

Having a healthy Haloti Ngata would help, but even at 70 percent, Ngata could make a difference. The linebackers need to play big this game. Lewis needs to play big; he had his share of mental and physical mistakes in that game.

The defense should respond. And the offense should give Cincinnati a big dose of Ray Rice. The Bengals couldn't handle him the first time, when he had 143 yards from scrimmage, including a 48-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. That was the Ravens' only offensive touchdown in the game. That's another example of Murphy's Law. Holding Joe Flacco's offense to one touchdown won't happen again.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement