Bengals are a scary proposition, but...
It's almost hard to believe that the 2011 regular season has come down to this, since there were several seemingly golden opportunities for the Ravens to lock up a high playoff seed a lot earlier.
No use crying about it. The Ravens have not played well on the road and need a victory over the Bengals on Sunday to finish with a .500 record away from M&T Bank Stadium. That will be no small feat with all the issues that John Harbaugh and the Ravens staff have had to deal with the past week or two, but I do believe the Ravens are the better team, so I'm still picking them to win.
The case can be made that the Bengals have more to play for, but I'm not buying that. Obviously, the Bengals want to get to the playoffs, but they aren't a real Super Bowl contender. If they get in, they'll have to win three straight playoff games on the road, which is asking way too much of a team that hasn't beaten anybody of consequence this year.
The Ravens could face the same fate if they don't beat the Bengals, but they are an experienced playoff team that has beaten a lot of good teams on the road in the regular and postseason over the past four seasons.
If the Ravens win, however, they will be in position for a very strong Super Bowl bid. I think that should give them the edge in the motivation department.