After months of football, the 2022 NFL regular season comes down to its final week. With the Ravens traveling to face the Cincinnati Bengals at the Paycor Stadium on Sunday, it is time for some Baltimore Ravens Week 18 bold predictions.
Most recently, Baltimore lost 16-13 to the Pittsburgh Steelers at home due to a last-minute touchdown. Now, the Ravens are 10-6 and sixth in the AFC with a playoff spot secured. They have the same record as the No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers but are 6-5 in conference play as opposed to Los Angeles’ 7-4.
The Bengals are 11-4 and currently the No. 3 seed in the AFC. Cincinnati’s Week 17 game versus the Buffalo Bills is currently postponed due to Damar Hamlin’s in-game collapse after a hit.
Baltimore could still clinch the AFC North by winning on Sunday and if the Bengals lose to the Buffalo Bills once this contest is resumed. Also, the Bengals could still climb some spots in the rankings too. That makes this division clash even more important for the playoff picture.
With that being said, here are some bold predictions for the Ravens as they play the Bengals in Week 18.
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3. Lamar Jackson does not play, Baltimore Ravens QB Tyler Huntley throws for less than 200 yards
Once again, Baltimore is dealing with key injuries late in the season. In 2021, the Ravens ended the season with a league-high 19 players on the injured reserve list, which included running back J.K. Dobbins and cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Most notably, Lamar Jackson missed the final four games of the season, and the team missed the postseason entirely.
This season, Jackson has missed the last four games due to a knee injury. Prior to Week 14, he was completing 62.3% of his passes for 2,242 yards and 17 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He also had 764 rushing yards and three scores, even earning some MVP buzz.
Since then, tyler huntley and rookie Anthony Brown shared time at the quarterback position. Without Jackson, Baltimore is 2-2.
With the veteran missing more than 10 straight practices dating back to December, it would not be a surprise if he does not play in Week 18.
That leaves Huntley as the likely starter for Sunday. In six games, four as a starter, Huntley has completed 67% of his pass attempts for 658 yards for two touchdowns and three interceptions. His season-high was 187 passing yards against the Denver Broncos in Week 13. He has also added 137 rushing yards for a score.
The bold prediction is that Huntley will have a solid performance but won’t surpass 200 passing yards. Still, he could find the end zone with short passes and timely throws.
2. Baltimore sacks Joe Burrow at least three times
If there was an area that Cincinnati had to address after its trip to the Super Bowl, it was its offensive line. Last season, Joe Burrow led the league in suffered sacks with 51 and 370 lost yards in the regular season. In the postseason, he was sacked 19 times for a loss of 137 yards, both NFL records.
After a slow start, the Bengals’ offensive line seems to have found its rhythm. So far, they have allowed 42 sacks, which is not ideal but is outside of the bottom 10 in the league. Additionally, Burrow has not been sacked more than twice since Week 8.
The problem is that he will face one of the most impactful defensive lines in the NFL on Sunday. The Ravens have registered 46 sacks, good to place them in the top five in the category. Outside linebacker Justin Houston is in the top 20 in the NFL with nine sacks.
Even with the improvement in the last few games, the bold prediction is that Baltimore’s defense will step up and sack Burrow at least three times.
1. Ravens lose by at most 10 points to Cincinnati Bengals
At the end of the day, the absence of Jackson and Burrow’s stellar season could be costly to the Ravens. The Bengals are still battling for a higher seed and should come with full force on Sunday.
According to FanDuel, Cincinnati is the favorite to win this contest. Currently, the spread is -7, one of the largest of Week 18. This means that some people believe the Bengals should have a solid victory to close out the regular season.
Still, Baltimore’s defense should help to keep the team in the game. The Ravens allow 18 points per game, the third-best mark in the league. Also, kicker Justin Tucker should put some precious points on the board when they reach Cincinnati’s territory.
The bold prediction is that Baltimore will put up a fight for most of the day. However, the key absences will make a difference. The Bengals should win the game but by at most 10 points. With that result, the Ravens will finish sixth in the AFC and might even face the Bengals again in the Wild Card round depending on other results across the NFL.