Bengals host Ravens in AFC North playoff showdown on TSN
Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals begin their quest for a second-consecutive Super Bowl appearance as they host their AFC North rivals, the Baltimore Ravens in their Wild Card game on Sunday.
Watch the Bengals take on the Ravens LIVE on Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET on TSN4, the TSN App, and TSN.ca.
The defending AFC Champions are looking to do something only three teams have done before, win the Super Bowl the year after losing it. The 2018 New England Patriots are the only team in the past 50 years to win the Super Bowl after losing the previous year.
Burrow expects the road back to the Super Bowl to be a difficult challenge as the LSU product looks to become just the fourth player in history to win a National Championship, Heisman Trophy, and a Super Bowl.
“There’s no easy path into the NFL, into the playoffs and to the Super Bowl,” Burrow said. “The harder it is, the better it will feel.”
Cincinnati (12-4) is confident heading into the playoffs, as they are riding an eight-game winning streak, including their most recent win, a 27-18 Week 18 victory over the same Ravens team they will battle on Sunday. It is the 15th time since 1990 of the same teams meeting in the final week of the regular season and in the Wild Card game. The same team has won both games seven times.
The teams split the season series, with the Ravens (10-7) winning their Week 5 matchup 19-17. Defensive lineman Calais Campbell says the rematch with a division rival adds an extra layer of intensity to the postseason showdown.
“It’s a division opponent that we know very well. They know us very well," Campbell said. “There’s a lot of just passion behind the ballgame. That’s what it’s all about. It’s win or go home.”
The biggest question for the Ravens will be the health of quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has not played since Week 13 due to a knee injury. Head coach John Harbaugh said Jackson is in good spirits but there is no update on when he might return to practice.
"Lamar has been in great spirits,” Harbaugh said Monday. “He’s been working super hard. He’s out there again today. I don’t watch the workouts with the trainers. It’s with the trainers. Hopefully, it’s progressing to the point where he can get to practice at some time soon.”
The Ravens offence sputtered in five games without Jackson, averaging just 146.2 passing yards per game. Backup Tyler Huntley tossed just two total touchdowns in four games while third stringer Anthony Brown failed to find the endzone in Week 18.
If Jackson does return he would look to become just the second quarterback to start and win a playoff game after missing the final five games of the regular season.
The Ravens will have to contend with a Bengals offence that averaged 29 points per game over its eight-game win streak. The wide receiver duo of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins could create issues for a Ravens secondary that allowed 3,947 passing yards this season, seventh-most in the NFL. Chase, Burrow’s LSU teammate, caught 40 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns in five games after returning from a hip injury in Week 13.
This will be the first time the Bengals and Ravens meet in the postseason.