The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals kick off Week 2 this Thursday night. The last time they met was in Week 17 of last season when the Bengals eliminated the Ravens from the playoff contest with a 49-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Tyler Boyd in fourth and 12 with 44 seconds per to play. That resulted in the Buffalo Bills qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 1999.
However, the Ravens have won five straight and seven of their last eight games on Thursday night, although Flacco has struggled to shine in Cincinnati, where he has only won three of his nine professional appearances visiting the Bengals.
Flacco threw three touchdown passes without interceptions in Week 1 against the Bills, however, it would be unprecedented for him if he has a similar performance on Thursday. In his 11-year career, he has never had three touchdown passes in consecutive games.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Dalton has a 5-13 record in his prime-time appearances, tied for the second worst among 65 quarterbacks with at least 15 starts in these games since 1970. Dalton has lost four consecutive games in prime time, all by four points or less.
As a result, the Bengals have also struggled in prime time, with a 1-8 record in their last eight games. They have averaged just 16.9 points per game in those games and their seven losses have been by four points or less.
The winner of this match will take the advantage in the historical series 23-22.
Both teams are looking to start the season 2-0, the Ravens for the third consecutive year and the Bengals for the first time since 2015, but how important is it to start like this? From 1990 to 2018, 228 teams started the campaign with a 2-0 mark and the average final record of those teams was 10-6. 142 of them qualified for the playoffs (62.3 percent), 18 of them finished as league champions.
On the other hand, in that same period, 406 teams started the season with a 1-1 record and their average final mark was 8-8. 166 of them reached the playoffs (40.9 percent) and seven finished as champions.
In the event that Flacco has to leave the game, his reserve Lamar Jackson, who last week participated in 29 plays in total, including three as wide receiver.
Flacco combined with three different receivers with at least three receptions in Week 1, Willie Snead, John Brown and Michael Crabtree, all acquired in free agency.
|Source: Elias Sports Bureau|
For his part, Dalton attempted just six passes that flew 10 yards or more in Week 1, the third worst among starting quarterbacks and his lowest number in a game since 2015. In his two games against the Ravens the year past, Dalton tried 24 passes of that distance in total.
The corridor Joe Mixon added 95 rushing yards in Week 1, 45 of those yards were running off the tackles on just five carries. In two games against the Ravens last season, Mixon struggled around the corner and averaged just 1.8 yards per carry away from the tackles.