Ravens vs Bengals: 3 Ravens to Keep an Eye on in Monday's Game

Kyle Casey@@kylecasey094Correspondent IIISeptember 7, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 01:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the ball during the NFL game against  the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens kick off their 2012 season on Monday night, as they take on the division rival Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium.

The game, which will be featured on Monday Night Football, will surely have plenty of playoff implications, as both teams figure to be in the playoff hunt for the whole season. The outcome of the game may ultimately determine the winner of the AFC North division.

The Ravens are currently favored over the Bengals, and they are certainly expected to win the game at home. But that win won't come easily, and several key Ravens will have to make an impact against Cincinnati in order to be victorious.

Here are three Ravens to keep an eye on in Monday night's game:

Ray Rice

In 2011, running back Ray Rice dominated the Bengals in the two games against them, rushing for 295 yards and four touchdowns. In the regular season finale in Cincinnati, Rice rushed for an astounding 191 yards on just 24 attempts.

If Rice can run for over 100 yards again on Monday night and find the end zone at least once, it could mean trouble for the Bengals defense.

Torrey Smith

In the first meeting against the Bengals last season, wide receiver Torrey Smith had a career-high 165 receiving yards on six catches. However, in the second meeting against the Bengals, Smith caught five passes for only 33 yards and was rather ineffective.

The key to Monday night's game will be which Smith we see. Will he have another career performance like he did in the first meeting with the Bengals? Or will he be ineffective like he was in the final regular season game? 

It's hard to predict what kind of performance Smith will have, so he's certainly a player to keep an eye on.

Lardarius Webb

The Ravens player with the toughest task on Monday night is cornerback Lardarius Webb, as he will have to defend one of the best up-and-coming receivers in the NFL, A.J. Green.

Green played in just one game against the Ravens last season, and was held in check as he caught just two passes for 26 yards. The Ravens need to limit Green to similar numbers in order to have a chance at winning the game.

Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams may line up against Green on certain plays, but for the most part Green will be Webb's man to shut down.