Thursday, August 23, 2012
AFC North preseason game plan
By Jamison Hensley
The AFC North has two teams playing preseason games on Thursday night. I will be at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium, where the Ravens will play the Jacksonville-London Jaguars. Pre-game meal might be fish and chips in honor of the Jaguars' new deal to play some home games across the pond. There are plenty of issues with the Ravens heading into their third preseason game: a shaky secondary and the kicker battle between Billy Cundiff and Justin Tucker.
The other division game is Green Bay at Cincinnati. A hot topic with the Bengals has been the lack of a ground game this preseason. It's tough to establish the run when Cincinnati's top two backs (BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Bernard Scott) are banged up and won't play again Thursday. A couple areas to watch: pass defense and the return game.
The Bengals gave up 174 yards passing to Matt Ryan in one half and face another test in the Packers' Aaron Rodgers. As far as returners, it looks like the team is leaning toward using Andrew Hawkins on punts and Brandon Tate on kickoffs. Hawkins has acknowledged that he's a work in progress.
The game plan is to post the Observation Deck blog for the Ravens immediately after their game. I'll take a look at the Bengals game later and put up my thoughts Friday morning.