(Photo credit: Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK)
Two teams reeling from Sunday losses at home will try to regroup and claim a key AFC North win when the division-leading Baltimore Ravens host the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.
The Ravens (7-3) blew a golden opportunity to put more distance between themselves and the Steelers, Browns andBengals, losing leads of 17-3 and 31-17 at home to Cleveland in a 33-31 loss. The setback snapped a four-game win streak.
Cincinnati (5-4) also had a four-game win streak snapped when it fought back from a 27-17 hole in the final three minutes, only to watch rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud lead Houston down the field for a game-winning field goal.
The Ravens' stout defense collapsed in the second half against the Browns, but Baltimore can make life very difficult for Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in the pocket. Both teams are banged up, but the absence of Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is a significant blow. It could be a repeat of Baltimore's 27-24 victory at Cincinnati in Week 2.
Prediction: Ravens 27, Bengals 24
The Ravens opened as 4.0-point favorites at BetMGM, where the line has shifted to 3.5 with the Bengals backed by 55 percent of the spread-line bets and 53 percent of the money. Cincinnati's 150 moneyline has also been popular at the book, drawing 68 and 63 percent of the action, respectively.
The story has been similar at BetRivers, where the Bengals have been backed by 67 percent of the spread-line bets and 78 percent of the money. However, the public has sided with Baltimore's moneyline at 62 and 61 percent, respectively.
The Over/Under has moved from 43.5 to 46 points at BetMGM, with the Over backed by 74 percent of the money.
Ravens RB Keaton Mitchell Under 36.5 Rushing Yards (-115 at DraftKings): The Over on this prop has been the most popular at the book, but we're going against the public. The rookie out of East Carolina backed up a breakout performance against Seattle with 34 yards against Cleveland. However, he had a long of 39 and lost 5 yards on his only other two carries. In a backfield that includes Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, look for the Ravens to lean heavily on their veteran duo in a critical divisional game.
The game against Cincinnati marks the end of a three-game homestand for Baltimore while Cincinnati is in a stretch of four games where Thursday is the only road contest.
The Bengals' defense is looking for a better effort after surrendering 17 plays of at least 20 yards in Sunday's loss to Houston.
"You've got to cram a whole game plan into really about two and a half days," Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. "And so the team's got to understand that. We walked off the field Sunday, it was a Wednesday afternoon, post-practice is really the point of the week you're at. And so, you've got to get your bodies right after a physical long game like we had.
"Baltimore had the same thing. I mean, it really similar styles of games that were just played. And our guys have to get themselves ready and our coaches have to do a good job preparing them in a short span this week."
Zay Flowers needs just one catch for 51 on the season, which would break a tie with Torrey Smith for the all-time Ravens rookie record. On defense, Ravens safety Geno Stone leads the NFL with six interceptions.
Both teams are dealing with a multitude of injuries heading into a game on only three days of rest.
Ravens starting right tackle Morgan Moses (shoulder) has missed two straight games, but he was a full participant in practice this week. Meanwhile, Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey (calf), starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) and linebacker Trenton Simpson (concussion) were hurt in Sunday's loss to the Browns. Stanley and Simpson have been ruled out, while Humphrey is doubtful.
Wide receiver Devin Duvernay (hamstring) also sat out practice Wednesday and is questionable. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy (groin) and guard John Simpson (illness, shoulder) did return to full practice by Wednesday.
"I think we're dealing with it right now. We've done a good job of that," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of the injury woes. "We've been on the road (a lot). We've (played) very tough teams in very physical games, and I feel like our guys have handled it very well.
"We have to continue to do it. That's probably the main point right now: It's how we handle that and how we approach it. Our job is to handle it better than our opponents do."
Higgins will miss his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury and will be joined on the Cincinnati sideline by edge rusher Sam Hubbard (ankle) and rookie wide receiver Andrei Iosivas (knee).
Bengals star edge rusher Trey Hendrickson hyperextended his left knee when Houston receiver Noah Brown rolled into him on the play before the game-winning field goal. Hendrickson practiced in full by Wednesday, but is considered a game-time decision.
THEY SAID IT
"We live, we grow, we get better. Every team is tested, and we're getting tested. So I'm excited for (Thursday)." --Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, who enters Thursday just one touchdown shy of matching Todd Heap for the team's all-time mark of 41.
--Field Level Media