NFL Week 11: Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens Sun. Nov. 20, 2011 1 p.m. EST

The AFC North division was considered to be a two-team division this season with the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the up-and-coming Baltimore Ravens battling it out for the division title. Even though that may still be the case at season’s end, coming into Week 11 the Ravens are not taking the Cincinnati Bengals lightly as rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and company have been much better than anticipated with a potent offense and a lockdown defense.

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There is no question that the Cincinnati Bengals still have a few more years left before they can be considered a serious force to be reckoned with in the AFC Conference like the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, but they are much closer to that distinction than anyone thought they would be at this point in time with a rookie quarterback.

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 06:  Andy Dalton #14 ...

Andy Dalton

The loss of franchise quarterback Carson Palmer and the entire receiving corps including Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens was thought to be devastating to this team, but it appears that was just what the doctor ordered as the Cincinnati Bengals haven’t looked back since the beginning of this season. With Andy Dalton being arguably the best rookie quarterback in the league next to Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), the Bengals have been firing on all cylinders offensively and having rookie wide receiver A.J. Green at his disposal has been the perfect asset to the passing game.

Coming into Week 11’s AFC North showdown with the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals are licking their wounds a bit after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. The loss to the Steelers wasn’t much of a surprise, but the Bengals were hoping to get that win in order to set up a game with Baltimore in which Cincinnati could jump to first place with a win.

Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, but what does make this game interesting is the fact that the Baltimore Ravens are coming off a disappointing loss to the lowly Seattle Seahawks. With the Ravens being as streaky as they have been all season long, the Bengals will have a shot at pulling off the upset this weekend in Baltimore.

As if the loss to Seattle wasn’t bad enough, the Ravens may have also lost superstar linebacker and the team’s leading tackler Ray Lewis for the next two games. The playing status of Lewis is still up in the air because it is no easy task to tell a passion player like the All-Pro linebacker that he can’t play, but he will probably be watching from the sidelines on Sunday.

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The Bengals are also dealing with a crucial injury that could affect Sunday’s outcome against the Ravens as rookie wideout A.J. Green might also miss the game with a knee injury he sustained in the loss to the Steelers.

As of right now, the Baltimore Ravens have been given the edge in this AFC North division showdown with a -7 point spread. The Ravens should cover this spread, but honestly this game could go either way.

Take the Ravens at -7.

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