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Ravens vs. Bengals staff picks: Who will win Sunday’s Week 17 game in Cincinnati?

Here’s how The Baltimore Sun sports staff views the outcome of Sunday afternoon’s game between the Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Bown Stadium:

C.J. Doon, editor

Ravens 31, Bengals 14: This Bengals team is playing better than any 4-10-1 team has any right to be, but a repeat of that gut-punching Tyler Boyd touchdown three years ago that knocked the Ravens out of playoff contention is unlikely. The Ravens are simply playing too well right now in all three phases, rising to ninth in overall efficiency after their fourth straight win. Viewed through the lens of expected points added, the Ravens are in the same tier as top contenders such as Buffalo, Green Bay and Kansas City. With a playoff berth at stake, the Ravens won’t take the Bengals lightly.

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Daniel Oyefusi, reporter

Ravens 34, Bengals 18: It can be tempting to draw comparisons with Week 17 of the 2017 season, when the Ravens also faced the Bengals in a “win-and-in” situation. But this Ravens team is much better than that past iteration and has made sure not to get in its own way when playing inferior opponents.

Mike Preston, columnist

Ravens 30, Bengals 21: The Bengals have won two straight behind a sound running game. This might be a turning point for second year coach Zac Taylor, but the Bengals aren’t in the Ravens’ class yet. Baltimore will ride its own strong running game to a win and a playoff berth.

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Jonas Shaffer, reporter

Ravens 28, Bengals 10: Cincinnati quarterback Brandon Allen passed for 371 yards against the Texans last week, and the Bengals stifled the Steelers offense the week before. But this Ravens defense doesn’t have the holes that Houston’s defense does. And this Ravens offense isn’t in the rut that Pittsburgh’s offense is. Lamar Jackson might not need a win to secure a third straight postseason berth, but it’s hard to see him losing.

Childs Walker, reporter

Ravens 37, Bengals 20: The Bengals aren’t quite the pushovers they appeared to be a few weeks back. They actually moved the ball against the Houston Texans and could give the Ravens a few scares. But the Ravens’ ground game is back to full steam, as is their pass rush — bad news for an opponent that struggles to stop the run and protect its quarterback. With a playoff berth on the line, the Ravens will take care of business.

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