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Like a golfer who hits a bad drive, the Bengals are used to having to make recovery shots. For a second straight year, Cincinnati is 5-4 after nine games following this past Sunday's loss to the Texans. The Bengals ended last year on a 12-game winning streak, and they'll look to create similar magic now, starting Thursday night against the Ravens in a game they are putting significant weight on. 

"I think it feels like a playoff game in November," Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said of Thursday night's showdown in Baltimore, via the team's website. "Usually when we play them, it's going to come down to probably the last possession or two. It's usually how all these games against have gone. And you're just mentally ready for it."

Bengals cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt, who has four interceptions in his past five games, echoed Callahan's sentiments shortly after Sunday's loss to Houston. 

"We've got to go win it," he said, via FOX19. "I think it's as simple as that man. ... I don't want to go home. Gotta go make that happen."

A loss on Thursday night wouldn't be the end of the world for Zac Taylor's team. Theoretically, the Bengals could lose three more times and would probably still grab one of the AFC's wild card spots. But a loss would be damaging given the Bengals' 0-3 record against divisional opponents and the teams Cincinnati still has left on its schedule. 

Each of the Bengals' next three opponents (Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville) have winning records. Their final four opponents (Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Cleveland) have a combined record of 25-12. The only remaining team the Bengals' face that does not have a winning record is the Colts, who at 5-5 are just behind Cincinnati in the AFC standings. 

That might be why the Bengals are putting so much weight on Thursday night's game. In order to win, the Bengals will have to do better job against Lamar Jackson this time than they did during their Week 2 loss to Baltimore. In that game, Jackson threw a pair of touchdown passes while also picking up 54 yards on 12 carries. His biggest play was a 52-yard bomb to Zay Flowers that set up his touchdown pass to Mark Andrews midway through the third quarter. 

Andrews' score came moments after Ravens safety Geno Stone picked off Burrow in the Ravens' end zone. That was the first of Stone's league-leading six interceptions. 

Some of Cincinnati's issues in Week 2 were again issues during this past Sunday's loss to the Texans. Cincinnati's defense had no answer for C.J. Stroud, who threw for 356 yards. The unit allowed Stroud, running back Devin Singletary and wideout Noah Brown to become the first trio of teammates to have 350 passing yards, 150 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in a game since Peyton Manning, Marshall Faulk and Torrance Small did so for the Colts 25 years ago. 

"It was more scramble stuff and just finding a guy," Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo said when discussing Houston's success through the air. "Like every team calls it, a plaster drill. You just get on your guy and stay on him. And we lost him yesterday, in particular, 85 (Noah Brown with seven catches for 172 yards) every time. One time we passed one (through a zone) when we shouldn't have. 

"It's always a combination of coverage and rush working together and we got out of sorts there on a little bit of both. One time we didn't rush well enough, another time we didn't cover them well enough. And there were other times we did well, but it certainly wasn't enough, that's for sure."

While he was largely good, Burrow did throw a pair of interceptions on Sunday as he tried to mount a late rally. Because of where the Bengals were at that point in the game, Callahan isn't worried about his quarterback's decisions on those pick plays. 

"You sort of live and die by it if that's where you're in the game," he said. "And, unfortunately, we were in that spot where we had to try to climb back. And those interceptions happen sometimes … But I'm not going to second-guess him when he's trying to be aggressive and make a play for the team … If that was just a normal first-and-10 and we were in a tie ball game, that would've been probably an overly aggressive decision. But where we were in the game, it was necessary."

If they win on Thursday night, the Bengals will have to do so without several key players. Wideout Tee Higgins and defensive ends Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson are not expected to play. Higgins' absence will continue to create more chances for Tyler Boyd and Trenton Irwin to make plays. Hubbard and Hendrickson's expected absences will give first-round pick Myles Murphy more opportunities to make plays. 

Regarding the Bengals' opponent, the Ravens are also probably looking at Thursday night's game in a similar light. While they lead the North with a 7-3 record, Baltimore is surely chomping at the bit to atone for Sunday's loss to the Browns that saw them squander a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter.

"We just know we have another division opponent this Thursday, so we have to win this game," Jackson said after Sunday's loss. "[We] have to win this game and defend the North. That's what we have going so far."