SERIES HISTORY: 42nd regular-season meeting. The Ravens lead the series, 21-20. Baltimore snapped a five-game losing streak against its AFC North foe with a 19-14 victory on Nov. 27. Prior to that game, the Ravens had not beaten Cincinnati since Nov. 10, 2013. The Ravens have not swept the season series since 2011.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
The Ravens are focused on salvage a winning season. As a result, coach John Harbaugh will play all of his regular starters.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict is still in concussion protocol and his status is uncertain.
Baltimore will aggressively attack Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton because he has so few weapons. Dalton has already been sacked 40 times this season.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown for a career-high 4,050 yards with 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He has also been able to spread the ball around to several receivers. That trend will likely continue this game. The key for Flacco is to avoid costly mistakes against the undermanned Bengals.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Ravens WR Steve Smith vs. Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick. The 37-year-old Smith and Kirkpatrick have already traded barbs this season. This matchup could get heated again, especially with Smith likely playing his final NFL game. Smith has been solid and has 67 receptions for 765 yards. He also leads the team with five touchdown receptions and 12 catches over 20 yards. Kirkpatrick, a pending free agent, is also having another solid year and leads the team with three interceptions. In likely his last game, Smith should be targeted several times by quarterback Joe Flacco, so Kirkpatrick will have a busy afternoon.
--Ravens LG Marshal Yanda vs. Bengals DT Geno Atkins. Yanda is one of the league's top interior linemen and earned a trip to his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl. Yanda moved from the right side of the line to the left side because of a sore shoulder and an injury to rookie Alex Lewis. Despite the switch, he has been just as dominant. Atkins is one of the premier pass rushers in the league and is one of just two Bengals selected for this year's Pro Bowl. He has created matchup problems against Baltimore. Atkins has managed 8.5 sacks on the season This will be a good battle between two veterans.
FRIDAY INJURY REPORT
--Questionable: T Alex Lewis (ankle)
--Out: WR A.J. Green (hamstring), T Cedric Ogbuehi (shoulder)
--Doubtful: LB Vontaze Burfict (knee, concussion), TE Tyler Kroft (knee, ankle)
--Questionable: RB Jeremy Hill (knee)
Ravens WR Mike Wallace. The eight-year veteran has resurrected his career with the Ravens. Wallace has been Baltimore's prime downfield threat and a favorite target for quarterback Joe Flacco. Wallace has caught 68 passes for a team-high 984 yards. He also has caught four touchdown passes. Wallace has showed some frustration when he doesn't consistently get the ball, but coach John Harbaugh has been impressed with his competitiveness. Wallace will look to finish the season strong against the Bengals. He is just 16 receiving yards away from becoming the 12th player in Ravens' history with 1,000 yards in a season.
-- Ravens QB Joe Flacco has thrown for a career-high 4,050 yards. He is the first Ravens quarterback to pass for at least 4,000 since Vinny Testaverde in 1996. Flacco owns seven of the top eight passing yardage totals in team history.
-- Ravens rookie RB Kenneth Dixon has caught a touchdown pass or run for a score in two of his past three games.
-- WR Steve Smith, who is likely playing his final NFL game, ranks seventh in NFL history with 14,697 receiving yards.
-- WR Mike Wallace leads Baltimore with 984 receiving yards.
-- LB Terrell Suggs has 114.5 sacks, most in Baltimore history. Suggs has three sacks and two forced fumbles in the past two games against the Bengals.
-- Bengals QB Andy Dalton is one of three quarterbacks in NFL history with 3,000 passing yards in each of his first six seasons. Dalton has 3,980 yards and can become the second player in team history with two 4,000-yard seasons.
-- Cincinnati RB Jeremy Hill has run for a touchdown in three of his past four games and has at least nine touchdowns in three consecutive seasons -- the second-longest streak in franchise history. Hill leads NFL with 29 rushing touchdowns since 2014.
-- Bengals DT Geno Atkins has four sacks in the past three games and 8.5 on the season. Since 2010, Atkins leads all NFL defensive tackles with 51.5 sacks.
Despite missing the playoffs for the third time in four years, the Ravens are feeling a sense of urgency to finish with a winning record, especially with last year's disappointing 5-11 finish. They will look to exploit the Bengals, who will be challenged to overcome injuries to some of their top players.
OUR PICK: Ravens, 27-17.