Football season got off to a great start yesterday, didn’t it? Loved seeing Peyton Manning, formerly of the Indianapolis professional football team, come back after sitting out a year with a neck injury and heroically lead the Denver Broncos past the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If Manning accomplishes nothing else in his career from here out, I will consider his return a success just for knocking off Ben Roethlisberger and his cronies.
So tonight… Well, the betting line among the online sports books has gone from the Ravens opening as a 5-point favorite early in the week to 7-point favorites today. The Ravens beat the Bengals twice last year, by 7 at home and 8 points away, respectively.
Could be a tight contest with the Bengals, who at 9-7 reached the playoffs last year. On the other hand, Harbaugh is 4-0 in season openers and will have the Ravens prepared. Naturally, everyone wants to see what kind of pass rush the Ravens generate without Terrell Suggs.
Here’s a sampling of people are saying about tonight’s nationally televised 7 p.m. contest:
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“Anybody can win any week, it just comes down to a couple of plays. You’ve got take advantage of the opportunities when you get a chance to make a big play. We got down early in both games, so we were playing from behind. We’ve got to find a way to start faster and come out and get some good drives to start the game and get into the flow of things.”
USA Today: “QB Joe Flacco is running a no-huddle attack, something that he wanted to do for the past few seasons. This should play to Flacco's strengths.”
ESPN: “Cornerback Lardarius Webb against wide receiver A.J. Green should be a fantastic matchup to watch, but are Cincinnati's other receivers good enough to make the Ravens pay if they have double coverage on Green?”
Analyst Peter King from Bengals.com: “One thing about the Bengals. They have an underrated front seven that has guys that make plays, but it's not a good thing to be down on the defensive line playing the Ravens in the no-huddle.”
Yahoo Sports: “The Bengals have an encouraging blend of youth and talent. They also have serious issues along the offensive line, and Baltimore still brings a vaunted defense that will wreak havoc when able to attack in constant third-and-longs situations.”
...Nothing tonight will top last year's 35-7 opening day win over Pittsburgh, but a win and Ravens start the season a game up on the Steelers...Can't wait...