John Harbaugh has already stated that Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green “might be the best receiver in the NFL.”
He certainly is among the top 10 in the NFL whether we are talking about on paper in terms of fantasy football or the eye ball test in which scouts see on the gridiron.
Green has an exceptional burst as he can easily coast by defenders and his lanky skills and crazy athleticism has made Andy Dalton perhaps a better signal-caller than he really is.
Dalton deserves a ton of credit though from his rookie campaign since most did not expect those Bungals to perform well enough to sneak into the playoffs.
Vegas still has this team a notch below the solid playoff competition level and a full notch and a half below the Super Bowl contenders.
On paper, they look to be on the money but they couldn’t be more wrong with a schedule that is weak enough to allow them to leave right off where they were last year.
The “Lawfirm” Benjarvus Green-Ellis should give them a decent enough running game to take some pressure off Dalton, but somebody else on this offense needs to have a career season.
Tight end Jermaine Gresham could perhaps be the one to step his game now that he looks fully healthy and completely recovered from a knee surgery that he suffered at Oklahoma three years ago.
Jerome Simpson is now on the Vikings, so look for Rutgers rookie Mohammed Sanu, Branton Tate (starting) and Armon Binns to attempt to stretch the field against Ed Reed and that questioned secondary.
Baltimore played excellent against Tom Brady and the Patriots, but there were far too many points during last season in which they allowed a ton of huge plays in the passing game.
Green could torch them if Dalton has the time to throw down the field, and losing Terrell Suggs (T-Sizzle) on the defensive side of the ball will hurt the Ravens early on in the season.
Their domination may not occur in this game even at home, and Ray Rice will be going up against a ferocious Bengals defense (wait, what!?).
Geno Atkins is one of the premier defensive lineman in the NFL and there are several others that are extremely athletic up front.
Manny Lawson, Michael Johnson, Thomas Howard, Carlos Dunlap and Rey Maualuga should stymie the Ravens troubled running game thanks to a still struggling offensive line.
If Joe Flacco thinks he is a premier signal-caller then he needs to find Torrey Smith early and often in this defensive slugfest or else the Bengals will hang around and believe they can pull off this season opening upset.
Time: 7 p.m. Eastern
Experts Pick: Ravens by 6.5
Danny V’s Pick: Ravens 24, Bengals 20