The Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens will play one another for the 51st time since the Ravens officially joined the NFL in 1996. The two teams don’t like each other. Regardless of the score, the AFC North rivals get up for each of their meetings.
Which team currently leads the all-time series, though?
The Baltimore Ravens have defeated the Bengals 27 times
Art Modell brought the Baltimore Ravens to the NFL in 1996, years after the Colts skipped town in the middle of the night. The franchise joined the AFC North, featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and the Bengals.
Of the 50 times Baltimore has played Cincinnati, the Ravens have won 27 of them. The franchise’s first victory over the Bengals came on Sep. 7, 1997.
Quarterback Vinny Testaverde led the way for the Ravens, throwing for 275 yards and a touchdown. Baltimore won the game convincingly, 23-10.
The Ravens reeled off six straight wins over Cincinnati from 1998 to 2000. The front office, led by general manager Ozzie Newsome, built a team to contend for a Super Bowl.
Baltimore won the Super Bowl in the 2000 season behind one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. Players like Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Rod Woodson, and Chris McAlister spearheaded the team’s dominant defense for years to come.
The current version of the Ravens has been dominant as well. They’ve won the last five meetings with the Bengals.
The Cincinnati Bengals have beat the Ravens 23 times
The Cincinnati Bengals were around long before football returned to Baltimore. After two seasons in the AFL, owner Paul Brown transitioned the Bengals to the NFL in 1970.
Cincinnati secured the first victory of the series between the AFC North rivals. It happened on Nov. 3, 1996. The Bengals defeated the baby-faced Ravens in 24-21 in a tightly-contested matchup. Cincinnati won behind quarterback Jeff Blake, who scored two touchdowns and running back Garrison Hearst.
The Bengals have beat the Baltimore Ravens 23 times out of 50. Even though they currently trail the all-time series, the cats in the orange and black have been competitive in the majority of the games.
The franchise’s longest win streak against Baltimore lasted from Dec. 29, 2013, to Jan. 3, 2016. The Bengals won five consecutive division games over the Ravens.
Marvin Lewis, the defensive coordinator for the Ravens’ 2000 Super Bowl team, became the head coach in Cincinnati. The Bengals featured an explosive offense led by Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and Giovani Bernard. The defense played with a chip on its shoulder behind Pacman Jones, Vontaze Burfict, and Geno Atkins.
Baltimore and Cincinnati will play for AFC North supremacy in Week 7
Neither Baltimore nor Cincinnati has completely dominated the other team in the series. The Ravens are currently in the lead but by just four games.
The days of Ray Lewis vs. Chad Johnson are gone. Still, the 2021 version of both teams should spark excitement heading into an important Week 7 tilt between the Ravens and Bengals.
Baltimore has sole possession of first place in the AFC North through six weeks. They enter the matchup with a 5-1 record. They lost their season opener to the Las Vegas Raiders but have since reeled off five straight.
Lamar Jackson is playing at an MVP level, and John Harbaugh should be a frontrunner for Coach of the Year. Injuries have decimated Baltimore’s roster, yet they are finding ways to win.
Cincinnati is sitting at 4-2, good for second place in the division. Under Zac Taylor, the team has overachieved thus far. Joe Burrow and rookie Ja’Marr Chase’s explosive connection has ignited the team’s offensive attack. Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins round out one of the most talented offenses in football.
The Bengals’ defense is much improved, but it will have its hands full trying to slow down Lamar Jackson.
As with any rivalry, trash talk is prevalent, but football will take precedence. The game will be a litmus test for where each team stands right now.
Let’s see which team can kick things off on the right foot for the next 50 games.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.