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NFL picks and predictions, Bengals vs. Ravens 2015: Experts undecided on AFC North battle

Ravens are 0-2 for the first time under John Harbaugh. To get their first win, they have to beat an undefeated Bengals team that has looked impressive in the first two weeks.

The Baltimore Ravens entered the 2015 season with the ninth-best odds to win the Super Bowl, but have dropped their first two games and face what is probably a must-win game on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Although Baltimore is a slight Vegas favorite at home, the experts are split on whether the Ravens can avoid a crushing 0-3 start.

The odds are already stacked against the Ravens making the playoffs this season. Since 1990 (when the current playoff format began), only 12 percent of teams that began the season in a 0-2 hole eventually made the postseason. Unsurprisingly, the odds become close to nil if they lose again on Sunday. Over the past 25 seasons, just three teams -- the 1992 Chargers, 1995 Lions and 1998 Bills -- have recovered from an 0-3 start to reach the playoffs.

By losing their first two games, the Ravens are pretty much in uncharted territory. This is the first time under coach John Harbaugh that they've started 0-2 and just the fourth time in franchise history (1999, 2002, 2005). There is some glimmer of hope, though. Both of their games this season were on the road and they return home to M&T Bank Stadium, where they've won six of their last seven games and are 12-4 since the start of the 2013 season.

The Bengals have been one of the most impressive teams through the first two weeks of the season, opening with two wins and a plus-25 point differential that ranks third in the league. The team and its fans have to be encouraged by the strong showing of quarterback Andy Dalton so far. Not only has he completed 68 percent of his passes for 483 yards and five touchdowns, but he hasn't thrown a pick, hasn't been sacked and hasn't fumbled yet. His passer rating of 120.3 is fifth-best in the league among qualifying quarterbacks.

The guys over at CBS Sports are mostly predicting the Bengals win, with six of their eight experts taking Cincy on the road. The panelists here at SB Nation have the opposite opinion, though — seven of our eight experts (including the OddsShark computer) are picking Baltimore to prevail at home.


Ryan Van Bibber Stephen White Joel Thorman David Fucillo Danny Kelly Matt Ufford PFT Commenter OddsShark
CIN vs BAL BAL BAL BAL CIN BAL BAL BAL BAL