Here’s how The Baltimore Sun sports staff views the outcome of Sunday’s game between the Ravens (3-1) and the Cincinnati Bengals (1-2-1) at M&T Bank Stadium:
C.J. Doon, editor
Ravens 35, Bengals 24: The Ravens under coach John Harbaugh are as tough as any team against rookie quarterbacks, but No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow is a different kind of challenge. Burrow is the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games, and he is attacking the intermediate level of the field as well as any quarterback in the league. The Ravens secondary is one of the league’s best, but it will be tested Sunday, especially if the pass rush can’t get going. Lamar Jackson won’t let the Ravens lose, but Cincinnati is no longer the pushover it has been recently.
Daniel Oyefusi, reporter
Ravens 28, Bengals 16: Joe Burrow has played well as a rookie and has a bright future ahead of him, but he doesn’t have the supporting cast, especially on defense, to keep up with a team the caliber of the Ravens.
Mike Preston, columnist
Ravens 28, Bengals 14: The Ravens can’t overlook Cincinnati. The Bengals have some good offensive weapons in receives A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and running back Joe Mixon. Quarterback Joe Burrow is a rookie but gets better each game. The Bengals, though, don’t have the muscle or depth on defense to keep up with the Ravens offense. The Bengals will keep it close for a while but the Ravens prevail.
Jonas Shaffer, reporter
Ravens 24, Bengals 20: If the Ravens don’t have Lamar Jackson, they’re not the double-digit favorites that Las Vegas has them pegged as. If they have a hobbled Jackson, they’re a much easier offense to defend. Still, Cincinnati’s attack shouldn’t strike fear into this Ravens defense. Joe Burrow was a worthy No. 1 pick, but rookie quarterbacks usually struggle in Baltimore.
Childs Walker, reporter
Ravens 30, Bengals 20: The Bengals have become a more dangerous opponent with Joe Burrow at quarterback and a talented group of skill players around him. But they’ve yet to play a team on the Ravens' level, and their weaknesses in pass blocking and run defense will make it hard for them to spring an upset. Expect a few nervous moments in the second half before the home team pulls away.