Who has the edge between the Ravens and Bengals?

Who has the edge? <P> Ravens offense <P> Total (22) Rushing (1) Passing (32) <P> The Ravens have failed to achieve their goal of becoming more explosive vertically. Although Baltimore would ideally like to mirror the Kansas City Chiefs' model of leaning heavily on running back Priest Holmes and tight end Tony Gonzalez, that hasn't happened despite the presence of Jamal Lewis and Todd Heap.

Under rookie quarterback Kyle Boller, it has been a lopsided run-pass ratio with 170 rushes for 998 yards, including Lewis' league-high 742 yards. Meanwhile, opponents have rushed only 132 times for 499 yards and two scores.

The Ravens have passed the football 125 times for 543 yards and two touchdowns. Opponents have passed the football 175 times for 1,083 yards and seven touchdowns.


Kyle Boller has cut back on his turnovers, but he hasn't thrown a touchdown since hitting tight end Todd Heap against San Diego.

Running backs

Jamal Lewis' output represents 53.7 percent of the Ravens' offensive production. He has touched the football on 41.5 percent (123) of the team's 306 offensive plays.


This unit has been missing in action thus far. Should Art Modell organize a search party?

Offensive line

Rapidly becoming more adept at reaching the second level to clear room for Lewis and Chester Taylor. The Ravens aren't nearly as left-handed as they used to be, too.

Bengals offense

Total (23) Rushing (28) Passing (14)

The Bengals have sorely missed Corey Dillon's presence, which has contributed to their 1-4 mark. Jon Kitna has completed 110-of-177 passes for 1,164 yards and six touchdowns with six interceptions for a 78.4 quarterback rating. Chad Johnson has already gained 429 yards on 27 receptions for three touchdowns. Former Florida State standout Peter Warrick hasn't become much of a deep threat, but has emerged as a decent possession receiver.


Jon Kitna has Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer looking over his shoulder, but he has held off the towering rookie so far.

Running backs

When Dillon is healthy and motivated, he performs fairly well against Baltimore with 700 rushing yards and 32 receptions in 12 games.


Chad Johnson is the only established deep threat.

Offensive line

Underrated group features tackles Willie Anderson and Levi Jones. Rookie guard Eric Steinbach is highly-regarded.

Quarterback edge: Bengals

Running back edge: Ravens

Receivers edge: Bengals

Offensive line edge: Ravens

Ravens defense

Total (8) Rushing (12) Passing (14)

Ravens are in an attack mode with active linebackers and a secondary that's beginning to click on all cylinders as cornerback Chris McAlister and safety Ed Reed are coming off strong performances against the lowly Arizona Cardinals. Baltimore has limited opponents to 499 rushing yards, a 3.8 average per carry, and two touchdowns. The defensive line, particularly nose guard Kelly Gregg and end Marques Douglas, are proving their point about being underrated on a weekly basis.

Defensive line

Tony Weaver has been solid against the run, but has generated no sacks.


All-Pro Ray Lewis has 79 tackles and is on pace to record 252 tackles, which would shatter his team record of 210 tackles in 1997.


Ed Reed is staking a strong claim for Pro Bowl recognition.

Bengals defense

Total (9) Rushing (12) Passing (14)

Historically solid against the run and sound in its front seven, Cincinnati appears vulnerable in the passing game. Because its cornerbacks allow so much cushion to not be beaten deep, opponents have used quick routes to complete 55.7 percent of their passes for 949 yards and a 10.8 average with four touchdowns. Duane Clemons has overshadowed Justin Smith as a pass rusher thus far. The Steelers targeted linebacker Adrian Ross with guard Alan Faneca and knocked his helmet off twice.

Defensive line

John Thornton and Tony Williams are reliable tacklers inside.


Even without Takeo Spikes, the Bengals have a capable leader in Brian Simmons.


This substandard unit needs upgrades everywhere.

Defensive line edge: Tie

Linebackers edge: Ravens

Secondary edge: Ravens

Ravens special teams

Kicker Matt Stover is beginning to carry the offensive scoring load again with four field goals last week. Baltimore hasn't scored an offensive touchdown since the loss to Kansas City. Return specialist Lamont Brightful needs to make something happen soon.

Bengals special teams

Former Ravens punter Kyle Richardson was signed this week as Nick Harris was slashed from the roster. Bottom line: This is a nondescript group.

Special teams edge: Ravens

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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