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Bengals Look for Repeat of Last Year’s Opener

Aiming to tie the franchise record with a fourth straight season-opening victory, the Bengals begin their 41st season Sunday at Baltimore, a one-time house of pain that recently has turned more favorable to Cincinnati fortunes.

“I think our team has learned a lot in this preseason,” says head coach Marvin Lewis, coming off a 2-2 August campaign and entering his sixth Bengals season. “We’ve been unhealthy at some key positions, and we haven’t shown the sharpness we need on offense. But now we’re getting guys back, and we’re excited. It’s time to buckle up and play for keeps.”

The Cincinnati defense is an untested entity, set to debut under Mike Zimmer, a ninth-year veteran NFL defensive coordinator. Low-key off the field but crusty at practice, Zimmer says simply, “We want to tackle hard and have a fast start.”

The Bengals lost seven straight games at Baltimore from 1997-2003, but have won in three of their last four visits, including 21-7 last season. Overall, the Bengals have won six of seven, following a Ravens dominance of 11 wins in 13 games.

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