After a bye in Week 9, the Bengals (5-4) allowed a season-worst 51 points Sunday in their blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints. They also became the first team in NFL history to surrender more than 500 yards in three straight games. Five of Cincinnati’s past six opponents have finished with at least 481 yards of offense.
The Bengals have yet to officially name a replacement for Austin, but ESPN reported that head coach Marvin Lewis will assume his responsibilities. The former Ravens defensive coordinator will enter Sunday’s game at M&T Bank Stadium with a unit ranked last in the NFL in total defense (454.6 yards allowed per game, almost 35 more than the No. 31 Cleveland Browns) and second to last in scoring defense (32.0 points allowed per game). The Ravens rank second in both categories.
The matchup has serious playoff implications for the AFC North foes. Cincinnati currently holds the sixth and final playoff seed in the AFC, ahead of the Tennessee Titans (5-4), Miami Dolphins (5-5), Ravens (4-5) and Indianapolis Colts (4-5). The Bengals also already defeated the Ravens in their Week 2 meeting in Cincinnati.
Austin was in his first year as Bengals defensive coordinator after serving for four years at the same post with the Detroit Lions. He was the Ravens' secondary coach from 2011 to 2013, a stretch that included their Super Bowl XLVII victory.