4. Are the Bengals vulnerable without Atkins and Maualuga?

The Bengals' rushing defense ranks 10th in the NFL, allowing 103.9 rushing yards per game. However, they've shown some signs of slippage lately. They allowed 157 rushing yards in a 22-20 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins last Thursday and are playing without All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins (torn anterior cruciate ligament) and linebacker Rey Maualuga (sprained knee), shown above. Ravens running back Ray Rice has rushed for 754 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 career games against the Bengals, catching 36 passes for 300 yards and one touchdown. Those totals might not matter Sunday. He gained just 17 yards on 11 carries last week and has only 259 rushing yards this season. His average of 2.7 yards per carry ranks second to last in the NFL among qualified running backs. It's hard to say, given what they showed in their first eight games, whether the Ravens will be able to get their running game going Sunday — even with Atkins and Maualuga out of the picture. "It's the unique thing about this league: Whoever it is can play," offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "They certainly have a lot of depth up front, and they just keep running them in there at you. They're doing a very fine job. I think you can see, from a statistical standpoint, they are one of the top teams in the league in a number of defensive categories, and a lot of it has to do with that front seven. They do a tremendous job up front."
Marc Lebryk / USA Today Sports
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