The Bengals’ fast start is making the Ravens’ slow start seem even more costly.
One of the Ravens’ primary goals heading into the season was to win the AFC North. But at 4-0 after Sunday’s victory over the Chiefs, the Bengals are clearly the team to beat in the AFC North, and they have already beaten the Ravens (1-3) at M&T Bank Stadium.
Even if the Ravens start stringing wins together, the Bengals will be tough to catch. Their failure to win playoff games during the tenure of coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton is well-documented. But their consistency during the first month of the season has been impressive. Dalton has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season with nine touchdown passes, one interception, and a 123.0 quarterback rating. Wide receiver A. J. Green had a sensational performance against the Ravens (10 catches, 227 yards, two touchdowns), as Dalton’s main weapon.
Meanwhile, the Ravens are scrambling to find healthy wide receivers, losing Michael Campanaro (back injury) for the season last week, and losing Steve Smith (small back fractures) for at least Week 5, if not longer. As for rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), his Ravens debut remains very uncertain after having an arthroscopic procedure last week. The Ravens hope newly-acquired wide receiver Chris Givens can provide the deep threat void left by Perriman’s absence.
Nobody in the AFC South or NFC East is better than 2-2, and those divisions are clearly up for grabs. But the talented and healthy Bengals are setting a torrid pace in the AFC North, making the hole the Ravens have dug even deeper.