The Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals have been rivals in the National Football League despite the many changes in cities, etc. Both teams reside in the AFC North, and have been competitive with playoff berths in recent history. It’s never pretty when these two get together on the field, and someone always comes away a little black and blue.
History of Ravens vs. Bengals Rivalry
Since the Baltimore Ravens’ first season in 1996, they have always belonged to the same division as the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are a much older franchise having been around since their inaugural 1968 season. This makes it one of the newest rivalries in the NFL, and there’s not a ton of history between Cincy and Mobtown other than when the Bengals played the Baltimore Colts in the ’70s and early ’80s. Baltimore was home to the Colts from 1953 to 1983, but they had a 13-year dry spell before Art Modell relocated his Cleveland Browns to Baltimore to give the city football again. Modell was required to leave the Browns’ history and records in Cleveland, so the Baltimore Ravens became an expansion team using Modell’s own personnel and players. Art Modell also has some significance to the Bengals, as he dismissed Paul Brown from coaching in Cleveland and Brown went on to help begin the Cincinnati Bengals and be their head coach. The Cincinnati Bengals stadium has been named Paul Brown Stadium since 2000 in honor of his legacy. Furthermore, this rivalry did not start out with much tension, since the Ravens were a much better team right out of the gate making this a non-significant match up until the early 2000s.
Head to Head Analysis of Ravens vs. Bengals
This has become a very exciting rivalry as they have a series split record of 23-23 against each other over their 20+ year history. Baltimore started this rivalry off lopsided by winning 12 of the first 17 meetings, including 9 of 10 at one point with three consecutive shutouts at home. Cincinnati has made a ton of progress in that story by winning 8 of the last 11 games between the two to bring it to a dead tie record-wise. This rivalry was ultimately overlooked until 2003 when former Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis became the head coach for Cincinnati. His first draft pick was a big get by selecting Heisman Trophy-winning QB Carson Palmer to help compete with the Ravens who largely dominated this series from 1997-2002. Palmer seemed to be the missing piece of the puzzle for the struggling Bengals, who did have some nice talent already on the team. Both of these teams were now viewed as tough opponents to see on your schedule for very different reasons. The Ravens had a veteran-led defense with Ray Lewis at the helm, whereas the Bengals had a young, high-powered offense behind Carson Palmer, WR Chad Johnson, WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and RB Rudi Johnson.
A Glance at Postseason Success in Ravens vs. Bengals Rivalry
These two teams have never faced off in the playoffs since 1996, and the Ravens have had some incredible postseason success in their short tenure. The Bengals were established nearly 30 years before the Ravens which makes Baltimore’s success that much more impressive. The Baltimore Ravens have won both of their 2 Super Bowl appearances in the year 2000 (SB XXXV) and the year 2012 (SB XLVII), as opposed to the Cincinnati Bengals who have not won a championship in their 50+ year existence. The Bengals do have more playoff appearances with 14 total, which is only 3 more than the Ravens’ total playoff appearances of 11 that all came post-2000s. It is a tie for the number of conference championships as they have both won the AFC twice. In their divisions, the Bengals have won 9 championships and the Ravens have won 5 including the most recent one.
Ravens vs. Bengals Rivalry Outlook
It is pretty incredible to see how far this rivalry has come, especially in the past fifteen years. Both of these teams have bright futures with young talent, and they both have ownership that has been known to draft well. For the Bengals, look out for young guys like RB Joe Mixon, WR Tyler Boyd, WR John Ross, FS Jessie Bates III, and MLB Nick Vigil. For the Ravens, keep an eye on electric QB Lamar Jackson as well as TE Hayden Hurst and a group of running backs in Kenneth Dixon, Alex Collins, and Gus Edwards.