Cincinnati at Baltimore (-7, 41)
The Cincinnati Bengals made noise by becoming the third AFC North team to qualify for the playoffs last season. The Bengals will test their mettle right out of the chute on Monday when they visit Baltimore to open their season against the reigning division-winning Ravens. Quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green made the Pro Bowl after their stellar rookie campaigns. The two young guns will need to continue that chemistry if the Bengals are going to unseat the Ravens, who won both meetings between the clubs in 2011.
Baltimore saw its season end in heartbreaking fashion after former Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff's 32-yard field-goal attempt went awry in the waning moments of the team's AFC Championship Game loss to New England. The Ravens will look to dust themselves off behind dynamic back Ray Rice, who led the team in both rushing (1,364 yards) and receiving (704) while leading the league in yards from scrimmage (2,068). For his efforts, he received a $40 million contract in the offseason. Coach John Harbaugh's club will begin the season with a heavy heart after longtime owner Art Modell passed away Thursday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Modell moved the then-Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996.TV:
7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE:
Ravens -6. O/U: 41.WEATHER:
Forecasts are calling for clear skies and temperatures in the high 60s. Winds will be blowing lightly out of the north.ABOUT THE BENGALS:
Former New England running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis replaces Cedric Benson as the bell cow in the backfield. Green-Ellis, who has yet to fumble in his NFL career, rushed for 11 touchdowns last season and 24 since 2010. Dalton threw for a season-best 373 yards in Cincinnati's 31-24 loss to Baltimore on Nov. 20. In addition to Green, tight end Jermaine Gresham creates matchup problems for defenses and will look to build on his career-best six touchdown receptions last season.ABOUT THE RAVENS:
Veteran linebacker Ray Lewis continues to provide an imposing presence after leading the club in tackles (95) for the 14th time in his career. Speaking of veterans, safety Ed Reed has tormented the Bengals in his career by recording nine interceptions. The team, however, will need to overcome the loss of reigning Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs (career-high 14 sacks in 2011), who is sidelined with a torn right Achilles tendon.TRENDS
* Bengals are 0-6-1 ATS in their last seven games vs. AFC opponents.
* Under is 4-0 in Baltimore’s last four home games.
* Bengals are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Ravens are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six home games.EXTRA POINTS
1. Baltimore has high hopes for younger stars such as promising wide receiver Torrey Smith, who had a breakout game against Cincinnati. He amassed a season-best 165 yards on Nov. 20.
2. Cincinnati CB Dre Kirkpatrick, who was the 17th overall pick of the 2012 draft, will sit out with a bone spur near his right knee.
3. Ravens QB Joe Flacco doesn't put up gaudy numbers, but the young quarterback has won 44 of his 64 games that he has started since entering the league in 2008.