PFF Preview: Ravens @ Bengals, Week 8
The 3-2-1 Cincinnati Bengals will hope to halt a three game winless streak, when they host the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens. With Baltimore being the current AFC North leaders; the Bengals can ill afford to fall further behind in their division.
One key matchup for the Ravens, will be the success of quarterback Joe Flacco and the passing game against a Bengals defense that struggled against Andrew Luck in Week 6. Flacco has the sixth-best PFF QB rating (95.55) and fifth best Accuracy Percentage (77.3) in the NFL, however, it is his ability to find Torrey Smith and Steve Smith downfield that makes him most dangerous. Flacco’s Deep Passing Accuracy of 57.7 ranks second, finding the two Smith’s for a combined nine receptions, 333 yards and five touchdowns on deep passes.
The deep passing game requires a clean pocket and the Ravens have generally done a good job of providing one, but uncertainty at left tackle may give the Bengals the opportunity to disrupt Flacco’s rhythm. Regular starter Eugene Monroe has missed four games with a knee injury, forcing rookie free agent James Hurst to start, and he has struggled, allowing three sacks and 11 total pressures for a 93.0 Pass Blocking Efficiency, 64th out of 70 qualifying tackles. Even if Monroe is fit to start, his 95.9 PBE is 24th on the same list.
To take advantage of that potential weakness, the Bengals will look to defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Wallace Gilberry. Dunlap has four sacks and 20 total pressures for a 7.5 Pass Rushing Productivity grade, with the majority of that production coming from the left side. Gilberry, the end who will most often match-up with the left tackle, has two sacks and 26 total pressures for a 9.9 PRP, seventh-best among weak-side ends.
Here are three more notable numbers for each side:
Ricky Wagner – While the Ravens have concerns at left tackle, there are none about the right, where Wagner’s +7.6 pass blocking grade and 97.0 PBE leads all right tackles.
Pernell McPhee – Over the last three weeks McPhee has four sacks and 15 total pressures; his 12.7 PRP is third in the league among starting 3-4 outside linebackers.
Jimmy Smith – Living up to his first-round draft status, Smith’s +6.9 coverage grade is fourth among cornerbacks and the best in the AFC North.
Geno Atkins – While yet to record a sack this season, Atkins has nine total pressures and pass rushing grades of +1.2, +2.1 and +3.4 in his last three games, an ominous pattern for opposing quarterbacks.
Andrew Whitworth – Allowing just one quarterback hit and three total pressures, Whitworth’s 98.9 PBE leads the league.
Russell Bodine – Giving up zero sacks, zero hits and just five total pressures, Bodine’s 98.2 PBE is ninth-best among centers, and the second-best mark of any rookie offensive lineman.
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