Bengals vs Ravens: NFL Week 18 preview, odds, how to watch, more

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Joe Burrow and the Bengals are Super Bowl dark horses
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals will lock horns this weekend in a clash that determines playoff seeding and potential home field for the Wild Card round. 

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Baltimore Ravens (10-6) @ Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)

Game Details:

  • Location: Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati
  • Time: Sunday, January 8th at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Channel: CBS

Betting Odds:

  • SPREAD: CIN -10
  • OVER/UNDER: 39.5
  • MONEYLINE: CIN (-475), BAL (+380)


Game Preview:

While the Bengals are AFC North champions regardless of how this game turns out, the result of this Week 18 showdown carries a few major implications as a result of the Bills-Bengals game being canceled following Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest. 

If Baltimore defeats Cincinnati in Week 18, it will have defeated Cincinnati twice but will not be able to host a playoff game because Cincinnati will have a higher winning percentage for a 16-game schedule than Baltimore will for a 17-game schedule. If Baltimore defeats Cincinnati and then those two teams are scheduled to play a Wild Card game against one another, the site for that game would be determined by a coin toss.

If Cincinnati wins the Week 18 game or if Baltimore and Cincinnati are not scheduled to play one another in the Wild Card round, the game sites would be determined by the regular scheduling procedures, which would mean Cincinnati gets to host its first-round game.

In order for any of the chaos to come to pass, Baltimore will need to win on Sunday, which would mean reversing their recent poor form after they dropped a game to the Steelers last weekend which is less than ideal and has now mounted the pressure on getting a victory here. They’ll likely still be without 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson, which means it’s down to Tyler Huntley to carry the load. 

Huntley has struggled in relief of Jackson. He’s yet to get past the 200-yard mark in any game this season and has a 2-3 TD/INT ratio. Baltimore has resorted to an even more run-heavy attack than usual, which isn’t ideal given that the Cincy run defense ranks 5th in the NFL.

From a Cincy standpoint, there is naturally some concern about the headspace after such a difficult week. But with Damar Hamlin now thankfully recovering and the NFL working on schedule amendments, the Bengals will be looking to protect a seven-game win streak. 

The Cincinnati run defense is what will ultimately decide this game. If they can keep the Ravens, who have struggled to score in recent weeks, quiet, it gives Burrow and the offense all the time and luxury in the world to march down the field and deliver with a dominant receiving corps. 

Joe Burrow ended 2022 on a high. He’s amassed an 11-4 TD-INT ratio through his last 4 games (not counting the opening quarter against Buffalo), having completed 70% of his passes with a rating of 108. If the #13 ranked Baltimore defense can’t get off the field, there’s no way the Ravens will be able to keep pace.


Betting pick:

Bengals 34                Ravens 17       

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Tyler Huntley and the Ravens take on the Bengals
Baltimore quarterback Tyler Huntley (2) looks to pass in the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)