The Baltimore Ravens’ trip to face the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday’s Wild Card clash presents both franchises with the opportunity to improve upon their postseason records in the first playoff clash between the teams.
While the Bengals marched all the way to the Super Bowl before a narrow 23-20 defeat to the Los Angeles Rams last year, the 2021 season marked the first time in 30 years that Cincinnati celebrated a victory in the playoffs – having lost seven Wild Card clashes in a row previously.
Meanwhile, the Ravens have won just two playoff clashes since their victory in Super Bowl XLVII a decade ago, losing four of six postseason clashes since.
Home field advantage for the Bengals will not matter to Baltimore, however, who stand as the only franchise in NFL history to boast a winning record in road playoff games at 11-7.
Without Lamar Jackson due to a knee injury, the Ravens go in as underdogs and may look towards their running game to provide a breakthrough.
They have excelled this season on the ground, earning a first down on 31.7 per cent of their rushing attempts this season – the highest such percentage in a single season by any team in the Super Bowl era.
Though most of those yards have come through Jackson himself (764 yards), J.K. Dobbins has tallied 520 yards from 92 carries and Kenyan Drake leads the Ravens with four rushing touchdowns, while only the Chicago Bears (3,014) had more rushing yards in the regular season than the Ravens (2,720).
The Bengals’ most effective outlet in response is likely to be star quarterback Joe Burrow, who boasts a career completion percentage of 68.3 in playoff matches – the second highest among NFL quarterbacks with at least 100 postseason pass attempts.
In the 2022 regular season, Burrow’s completion percentage also stood at 68.3, behind only the Seattle Seahawks’ Geno Smith (69.8), while 35 touchdown passes ranked as the third highest across the NFL.
Victory against the Ravens would also extend Cincinnati’s current win streak to nine, which would set a franchise record. The Bengals are the only NFL team who have not recorded at least one winning streak of at least nine games in their history.
Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins will be instrumental to the Bengals’ hopes, with the pair both boasting over 1,000 receiving yards this season and having a combined receiving touchdown total of 16 – almost half of the Bengals’ team total in 2022 (35).
The two sides met only last week, where the Bengals emerged 26-17 victors, and the all-time series record stands at 28-26 in favour of the Ravens.
With the Bengals and Ravens having never previously met in the playoffs, the rivalry is now set to see a new chapter written.
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