Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.
Television: The game will air nationally on CBS-TV. In the Bengals' home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst) and Melanie Collins (sideline reporter).
Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).
The game also will air nationally on Compass Media Networks. Broadcasters are Gregg Daniels (play-by-play) and Brian Baldinger (analyst).
Setting the scene: The Bengals this week travel to Baltimore to take on the division-rival Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Cincinnati will be looking to ride the momentum of a 34-11 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday, which gave the Bengals their largest margin of victory since 2017.
"It's a step in the right direction," said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor of his team's win. "That's what we needed - come on the road after a loss, and win. It wasn't perfect and there are a lot of things we're going to have to clean up, but I thought our guys did a great job of playing in control through that game. Now we just have to put that one behind us and move forward."
Cincinnati opened the game by winning its 11th straight coin toss (more info in "Bengals coin-toss streak at 11"), forcing a three-and-out, and then driving eight plays and 61 yards for their first opening-possession TD of the season. The score came courtesy of rookie sixth-round pick Chris Evans, who made a fingertip grab on a 24-yard pass from QB Joe Burrow. Evans was credited by teammates and coaches for making important plays throughout the game, including a key blitz pickup on a deep pass to WR Ja'Marr Chase in the third quarter.
"We didn't consider it a breakout performance for Chris," Taylor said. "This is what we've seen from him since training camp - running a double-move like that and creating that separation. That's a tough matchup for other teams.
"For him to finish that play was a big deal. Then he stepped up and got some carries and made other plays. It's different from preseason games because the bright lights are on and you're on TV playing against a real NFL team in a real game. I thought he did a nice job."
The Bengals' offense struggled to find its footing for much of the rest of the first half, but the defense turned in a dominant performance that held the Lions scoreless before the break while allowing just 51 total yards. Cincinnati took a 10-0 lead into halftime, thanks in part to a 34-yard pass to Chase that helped set up a FG in the waning seconds of the half. It was the latest installment in what has become a common theme this season for Cincinnati - Burrow and Chase connecting on a deep pass late in the second quarter to give the Bengals points just before halftime.
"Ja'Marr just keeps making plays in those situations," Burrow said. "That's the fourth game now that he's made a big catch in the 'two-minute' right before the half that's gotten us points. He's just going to keep making those plays. That's just the kind of guy he is."
Cincinnati's offense got rolling in the second half and opened the third quarter with a 75-yard TD drive that was capped by a 40-yard TD catch by HB Joe Mixon on a fourth-and-one. Mixon, though, wasn't even the star of the play.
"That's Ja'Marr's touchdown, it wasn't mine," Mixon said of Chase, who sprinted downfield to make a key block and spring him into the end zone. "I got out to the flat and saw him, and he threw a hell of a block. He threw the guy to the ground, and I just finished it."
Mixon posted 153 yards from scrimmage on the day, and Burrow tossed three TDs to become just the second player ever to throw at least two TDs in each of the first six games of their rookie or second season (the other was Dan Marino in 1984, his second season). Chase had 97 receiving yards, barely missing what would've been his third 100-yard game, but his 553 receiving yards so far this season are the second-most since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger by a rookie through their first six games (Anquan Boldin had 593 in 2003).
"There's a lot made of these receivers because of their talent and big-play production," Taylor said. "Their catches, their dances and all that stuff. But they're selfless. They care about their teammates. I could tell just in Ja'Marr's eyes today how excited he was for Joe Mixon to score that touchdown. That's going to take us a long way when we have guys like that."
This week, the Bengals face a division-leading Ravens team led by star QB Lamar Jackson and the NFL's No. 4 offense. The Ravens enter Sunday's matchup 5-1, after beating the L.A. Chargers 34-6 last week.
The series: Baltimore leads the series, 27-23.
Here are some series notes:
When Cincinnati took a 23-22 series lead in Week 2 of the 2018 season, it was the first time the Bengals had led the series since after the first of two meetings of 1998, when they were up 3-2. That lead didn't last long, however, as the Ravens now have won five straight and recaptured a four-game advantage. The Ravens now have swept the Bengals two consecutive seasons (2020 and '21). Prior to 2020, the Ravens had not swept the Bengals since 2011. The most recent Bengals' sweep of the Ravens was in 2015. It hasn't been an easy series for the visiting team. The Ravens lead 17-8 in Baltimore, and the Bengals lead 15-10 in Cincinnati. Since 2010, 14 of the teams' 22 meetings have been one-score decisions, by eight or fewer points.
Turnover margin is key vs. Ravens: In the 39 all-time Bengals-Ravens meetings in which the turnover differential has not been even (1995-present), the team who wins the turnover battle has posted a 34-5 record.
Putting it another way, the Bengals are 14-3 against the Ravens with a plus turnover differential, and 2-20 with a minus. Looking at it from Baltimore's point of view, the Ravens are 20-2 with a plus and 3-14 with a minus.
Cincinnati leads 7-4 in games against Baltimore in which the turnover margin was even.
Bengals-Ravens connections: Ravens G Kevin Zeitler originally was a first-round draft pick of the Bengals in 2012, and was with Cincinnati through the 2016 season ... Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is from Perrysburg, Ohio, played defensive back at Miami (Ohio) University, and coached at Morehead State (1988) and the University of Cincinnati ('89-96) ... Ravens QB Lamar Jackson played at the University of Louisville ... Ravens LB Malik Harrison, RB J.K. Dobbins (Injured Reserve) and WR Binjimen Victor all played at Ohio State University; Harrison is from Columbus, Ohio (Walnut Ridge High School) ... Bengals OT Isaiah Prince is from Greenbelt, Md. (Eleanor Roosevelt High School) ... Ravens OT Andre Smith (practice squad) originally was a first-round pick of the Bengals in 2009, and was with Cincinnati from '09- 15 and '17-19 ... Ravens DT Kahlil McKenzie (practice squad) was with the Bengals in 2020 ... Ravens DE Derek Wolfe (Injured Reserve) played at the University of Cincinnati ... Ravens LB L.J. Fort (Injured Reserve) was on the Bengals' practice squad in 2014 ... Ravens RB Le'Veon Bell (practice squad) is from Reynoldsburg, Ohio (Groveport Madison High School) ... Bengals LB Keandre Jones (practice squad) is from Olney, Md. (Good Counsel High School), and played at the University of Maryland ... Ravens DT Brandon Williams attended prep school for one year at Harmony Community School in Cincinnati ... Ravens CB Chris Westry (practice squad) played at the University of Kentucky ... Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban was on the Bengals' coaching staff from 2011-17 ... Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons entered NFL coaching with the Ravens in 1998 ... Bengals senior defensive assistant Mark Duffner was the head coach at the University of Maryland from 1992-96 ... Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack is from Camp Springs, Md. ... Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale is from Dayton, Ohio, played at Defiance College from 1981-84, and coached at Defiance ('86-87) and the University of Cincinnati ('96-98) ... Ravens pass defense coordinator Chris Hewitt played defensive back at the University of Cincinnati from 1993-96 ... Ravens RBs coach Craig Ver Steeg coached at the University of Cincinnati 1990-93 ... Ravens assistant special teams coach T.J. Weist coached at the University of Cincinnati from 2010-13 ... Ravens assistant LBs coach Jay Peterson played (1980-83) and coached ('91-98, 2011-13) at Miami (Ohio) University ... Ravens inside LBs coach Rob Ryan coached at Ohio State University in 1988 ... Ravens pass game specialist Keith Williams is from Lima, Ohio.
Joe goes 2 x 6: Second-year Bengals QB Joe Burrow has tossed at least two TDs in each of Cincinnati's first six games this season. The only other rookie or second-year player to accomplish that feat was Pro Football Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino, who tossed at least two TDs in each of his team's first 10 games in 1984 (his second season).
Burrow bounces back: Bengals QB Joe Burrow returned to the field this season a little more than nine months after his rookie campaign was cut short by a left knee injury. Over the offseason, a hot topic of debate centered on how quickly Burrow could return to game action, and then if and when he would return to form. He answered both of those questions almost immediately.
Shortly after the injury last season, Burrow vowed publicly that he would be Cincinnati's starting QB in the 2021 season-opener. In Game 1 vs. Minnesota, he not only made good on that promise, he went on to post then-career highs in passer rating (128.8), completion percentage (74.1) and yards per attempt (9.67) - he has since topped each of those numbers. Later in the game, Burrow led Cincinnati on a seven-play, 46-yard drive in overtime that set up a game-winning FG as time expired.
So far this season, Burrow has completed 123 of 174 passes (70.7 percent) for 1540 yards, 14 TDs and seven INTs (107.9 rating).
The rundown on Chase: Bengals rookie WR Ja'Marr Chase has lit up the record books so far in his young career. Here's a rundown of some of his accomplishments to this point in the season.
Chase leads all rookies in both receiving yardage (553) and TDs (five). Among all players, he is fourth in receiving yards and tied for fourth in receiving TDs. He leads the NFL in receptions of 40 yards or longer (five), and is tied for fourth in receptions of 20 yards or longer (nine). He is one of just three rookies in NFL history to record at least 50 receiving yards in each of their first six games. The other two were Detroit's Earl McCullouch (1968) and Dallas' CeeDee Lamb (2021). He is one of two players in NFL history with a reception of at least 30 yards in each of their first six career games. Detroit WR Earl McCullouch, who at one time was the world-record holder in the 110-meter hurdles, did it in 1968.
Mixon nearing 4k: Bengals HB Joe Mixon has 3839 career rushing yards, sixth-most in team history. He passed RB Harold Green (3727) for sixth place in Game 5 vs. Green Bay, and currently stands 337 shy of HB Cedric Benson (4176) for fifth place.
Mixon, a 2017 second-round pick of the Bengals, is just 161 yards shy of becoming the sixth Bengal ever to rush for 4000 career yards.
Hendrickson on torrid sack pace: DE Trey Hendrickson is in his first season with the Bengals, but he's already making an impact in the sack column.
Hendrickson, one of the headliners of Cincinnati's free agency haul in March, has a team-high 5.5 sacks through just six games. That total would have tied for the team lead for all of last season.
It's still early, but Hendrickson is on pace for 15.5 sacks for a full 17-game season, which would be second-most in team history between DE Coy Bacon's team-record 22 in 1976, and DE Carlos Dunlap's 13.5 in 2015. It would also make him the first Bengal with double-digit sacks since former DT Geno Atkins' 10 in 2018.
Last season with New Orleans, Hendrickson had 13.5 sacks, tied for the NFC lead and tied for second-most leaguewide.
Logan second in INTs: Bengals second-year LB Logan Wilson has turned heads this season as one of the team's top defensive players. The 2020 third-round pick has four INTs so far this season, most in the AFC and second-most leaguewide. No other linebacker has more than two INTs. Wilson's four picks already are the most by a Bengals LB in a season since Odell Thurman's five in 2005.
Wilson has also been strong against the run. His 52 tackles lead the team and rank 10th leaguewide. He has led Cincinnati in tackles in three of the team's six games this season.
As a rookie last season, Wilson was eased into the regular defensive rotation and then battled injuries late in the year. This season, he was assigned the green dot on his helmet as the team's designated communicator, and has been credited by teammates for being a vocal leader.
Bengals improve 2020 pass-rush: Over the offseason, one of the Bengals' primary areas of focus was to improve a pass-rush that last year totaled a league-low 17 sacks. Injuries were a key factor a year ago, especially toward the end of the season, but Cincinnati still approached free agency and the draft zeroed in on boosting the defensive line.
So far, it's worked. Through just six games this season, Cincinnati has 14 sacks, just three shy of last season's 16-game total. DE Trey Hendrickson, one of the team's key acquisitions in free agency last March, leads the team with 5.5 sacks, which at the end of last season would have tied for the team lead. Seven Bengals have gotten into the sack column this season, including DT Larry Ogunjobi (one), another free agent acquisition, and DE Cam Sample (one), one of four defensive linemen Cincinnati selected in April's draft. The revamped defensive line has accounted for all but one of the team's sacks this season, and DE Sam Hubbard (1.5) is the only defender in the sack column who was with Cincinnati prior to the 2020 season.
The Bengals this year are tied for ninth league-wide in sacks.