Week 2 of the NFL season kicks off on Thursday, September 13th as the Cincinnati Bengals host the Baltimore Ravens.
The Baltimore Ravens looked fantastic defensively as they routed the Buffalo Bills 47-3. As a team, the Ravens recorded 51 tackles, six sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 12 pass deflections, nine quarterback hits, and two interceptions.
The Cincinnati Bengals mounted a late comeback as they were able to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 34-23. Heading into the fourth quarter the Bengals were trailing 17-23 before Joe Mixon pushed his way into the end zone. The Bengals went on to lead 24-23 with 11:07 remaining in the game before Randy Bullock kicked a 39-yard field goal and Clayton Fejedelem scored a touchdown on an 83-yard fumble return.
As good as the Bengals were on offense, the team also had a lot of impressive upsets on defense as they were led by linebacker Nick Vigil. Virgil finished the game with 11 tackles and two tackles for loss.
This will be an interesting match-up to watch between two AFC North rivals.
Offensively, I believe Joe Mixon could have another big game for the Bengals. During the first week of the season, Mixon recorded 17 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown while also hauling in five receptions for 54 yards. Mixon had a physical running style that allows him to constantly fight for extra yardage. Also carrying a unique blend of speed and lateral quickness, Mixon has the ability to force missed tackles throughout the game. Not only is Mixon a solid running back, Mixon also has the ability to be effective in the passing game for the Bengals.
Defensively, the Bengals should expect a big game from defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Atkins recorded four total tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits during week one against the Colts. Atkins has shown incredible instinct throughout his career and will not stop fighting until a whistle is blown. Off the ball, we have seen the incredible quickness and excellent lateral quickness while in pursuit. As a defensive tackle in the NFL, Atkins has expressed incredible pass rush ability while also holding his ground within the run game.
The Bengals dark horse tomorrow night could very well be wide receiver AJ Green. Green had six receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown against the Colts. Ball security was an issue since Green fumbled the ball on two separate occasions. However, Green has an incredible catch radius and has showcased excellent speed throughout his career. He has excellent ability to catch the ball at its peak and will haul in poorly thrown passes. He is highly competitive and is very productive in the middle of the field.
Offensively, the Ravens could continue to see big games from quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco completed 25-of-34 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns against the Bills on Sunday. Flacco has shown impressive footwork throughout his career. He has shown consistency while throwing short or medium passes throughout his career and has improved his accuracy on deep passes. Due to his size, Flacco has proven to be a strong runner in quarterback sneak situations. Showcasing his ability to avoid pressure and scramble out of the pocket has paved its way as part of Flacco’s success in Baltimore.
Defensively, the Baltimore Ravens have a lot of talent and their young cornerback, Tavon Young, looks to be an intriguing option down the road. Young recorded three tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, one pass deflection and two quarterback hits on Sunday against the Bills. Young is highly competitive and has shown great instinct and physicality near the line of scrimmage. He has proven his ability to shed through blocks to make effective plays. Although Young is smaller compared to desired cornerbacks, he has above-average balls skills along with being highly effective during the run game.
The Raven’s dark horse will be wide receiver Willie Snead IV. Snead caught four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown against the Bills on Sunday. Snead has the ability to run effective routes while also maintaining balance with controlled movements. His ability to adjust has been impressive during his time with the Saints. He is a highly dependable receiver who has the ability to catch passes naturally but fails to separate himself during coverage.