OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Coming off the emotional high of their win against the previously undefeated New England Patriots, Ravens players stressed there won’t be any letdown when they face the winless Cincinnati Bengals (0-8) at Paul Brown Stadium Nov. 10.
“What would last week’s win mean if we just go out there and just lay an egg?” said cornerback Jimmy Smith as he met with the media before practice Nov. 6.
“This game’s a rivalry game, just like the Steelers, Browns,” Smith added. “The records don’t matter. We know what they possess over there, and they know what we possess over here. And they know how to play us. … We want to come out victorious but we know how dangerous Cincinnati is and always will be.”
The Ravens (6-2) held off the Bengals four weeks ago, 23-17, in the first meeting of the season between the teams, as quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for 236 yards and ran 19 times for a career-high 152 yards.
Before that game, Harbaugh said, “We haven’t done too well against the Bengals the last six years, seven years. They’ve had our number a number of times.”
The most notable instance was when the Bengals stunned the Ravens with a last-minute, 49-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Tyler Boyd in the 2017 season finale at M&T Bank Stadium that kept the Ravens out of the playoffs. But there have been plenty of other examples, especially at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
The Ravens have lost six of their past seven games at Cincinnati, including a 34-23 setback last season in Week 2, with Joe Flacco as the Ravens’ starting quarterback. This week’s game will be the first start in Cincinnati for Jackson, who also cautioned against any letdown after the big win over the Patriots.
“It’s the NFL. On any given Sunday, anything can happen,” Jackson said. “We’re playing ball. At the end of the day, it don’t matter what the record is. We’re all grown men. You know they’re going to compete their tails off regardless.”
Coming off their bye week, the Bengals, particularly on offense, could look quite different from the team the Ravens faced a month ago.
Rookie Ryan Finley is expected to make his first career start at quarterback, and All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green could be making his season debut after missing the first eight games with an ankle injury. Green had three touchdown catches in the Bengals’ win against the Ravens last season. He has averaged about five catches and 88 yards in 11 games against the Ravens, with nine touchdowns.
Smith said that Green, who is considered day to day after missing the team’s Oct. 6 workout, has been “a thorn in our side. He makes tremendous plays. I’m sure he’s gunning to come back and can’t wait. We are going to do our best to keep him contained, and keep his offense contained completely. We know what he can do. We know what [Boyd] can do as well and what [receiver Auden Tate] can do.”
Tate led the Bengals with five catches for 91 yards against the Ravens in the Week 6 matchup.
“We’re going to have our hands full,” Smith said. “I think the strength of their offense is their receivers, and the strength of our defense right now is our secondary, so that’s going to be the big matchup this week.”
FOUR MISS PRACTICE: Running back Mark Ingram, safety Earl Thomas, offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley and guard Marshal Yanda missed the Nov. 6 workout, though according to the team’s official injury report, the absences of Ingram and Thomas were not injury related. They presumably got a vet day off.
Yanda has an illness, while Stanley is dealing with a knee injury. Wide receiver and kick returner Chris Moore was limited in practice with a thumb injury.
JACKSON HONORED AS AFC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Ravens past the undefeated New England Patriots, 37-20, in a nationally televised matchup Nov. 3.
It was the second such weekly honor this year for Jackson, who completed 17 of 23 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown and ran 16 times for 61 yards and two scores.
THOMAS ‘A BLESSING TO BE HERE’: New wide receiver and return specialist De’Anthony Thomas said it is “a blessing to be here,” after a whirlwind week in which he scrapped a potential workout in Tampa Bay to come sign with the Ravens.
Speaking in front of his new locker before practice Nov. 6, Thomas called it an “amazing” opportunity to join the Ravens after being let go earlier this year by the Kansas City Chiefs. “They got something going here, and I feel like I bring a lot of spark to it.”
Harbaugh was noncommittal about what Thomas’ role might be, saying, “He’s a good player. We played against him earlier when he was with the Chiefs. He’s a wide receiver, he’s a return man, he can also play special teams. … We’ll see how it shakes out.”
Thomas could be in line for work as the Ravens’ kick returner or punt returner, and his locker is right next to incumbent punt returner Cyrus Jones, whose fumble against the Patriots could have figured in the signing of Thomas.
Asked about how he can bounce back from the fumble, Jones, who has averaged 9.4 yards on 12 returns this year, said, “Catch the ball. Just catch the ball. That’s all I gotta do. I got one job. Catch the ball.”
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