BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 20: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals scores his team's only first half touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Bengals 14-7 at the half. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
The Baltimore Ravens open Week 1 of the NFL season against the Cincinnati Bengals in a clash of AFC North rivals.
The Baltimore Ravens open the 2012 NFL season at home against the Cincinnati Bengals when the two AFC North rivals play before a national audience on ESPN's Monday Night Football for Week 1 of the NFL season.
The Ravens are among the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this year after coming within one dropped pass of making the big game last season. The Baltimore defense, led by veterans Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, is adding some new faces this year but expects to remain a big factor. The offense may make the difference this year with Ray Rice leading the running attack and Joe Flacco trying to build on his strong playoff performance at quarterback.
The Bengals will rely on young talent at key positions as they look to make a statement in their first game. Quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green burst on the scene as rookies last season, to give the Bengals a strong offensive base to build around heading into their second year. Cincinnati also added BenJarvus Green-Ellis as a primary running back. Green-Ellis rushed for 667 yards and 11 touchdowns last season for the New England Patriots.
Baltimore enters the game as 7-point favorites. ESPN will broadcast the game at 7 p.m. ET as the first of two Monday Night Football games to begin the season.