It’s a brave new world because the Buffalo Bills are hosting a playoff game in primetime on Saturday night. Against the Baltimore Ravens, the Bills are slim 2-point favorites with the over/under for the game set at 50 points.
The Bills didn’t have an easy time taking care of Indianapolis last week. Buffalo trailed for large stretches of the first half and barely managed to hang on at the end for a 27-24 win. That being said, the Bills managed to survive and advance, winning their seventh straight game and doing so in front of their home fans for the first time this season.
Meanwhile, the Ravens finally got revenge for last year’s playoff loss to the Titans, not to mention a loss to Tennessee during the regular season. Likewise, Lamar Jackson got the monkey off his back after losing the first two playoff games of his career. Baltimore has now won six in a row and is nearly as hot as Buffalo.
The Ole MVP
Baltimore’s win over the Titans may have been the perfect example of how dangerous Jackson can be with his legs. Despite the Tennessee defense keeping him bottled up early, Jackson finished the game with 136 rushing yards, including a game-changing 48-yard touchdown run. The tandem of J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards was also productive for the Ravens. Baltimore finished with 236 rushing yards, helping to overshadow a lackluster passing offense that allowed Jackson to be sacked five times.
Unfortunately for the Bills, a strong running team is not what they want to see right now. The Buffalo defense had some trouble containing Indy’s Jonathan Taylor last week. The Colts averaged 5.4 yards per carry against the Bills. Despite a talented secondary, the Bills failed to register a sack or a takeaway against the Colts. They also had trouble with Indy’s tight ends, which could be a concern against the Ravens.
Can You Digg It
As for the Buffalo offense, it all boils down to quarterback Josh Allen. The Bills have had an inconsistent rushing attack all season, and losing Zack Moss to injury won’t help that. Allen can also be a dangerous runner. However, he’ll likely have to do most of his damage through the air. Allen looked far more confident last week than he did in the playoffs last year, throwing for 324 yards and two touchdowns. At times, Stefon Diggs looks close to unstoppable, giving the Bills a game-changer.
The Baltimore secondary will have its hands full. Stopping the run shouldn’t be a huge issue for the Ravens. But they’ll need to find an answer for Diggs, not to mention John Brown and Cole Beasley. The effectiveness of the Baltimore pass rush could end up being the deciding factor. Of course, no one on the Ravens had more than Matthew Judos’ six sacks during the regular season, so creating consistent pressure against Allen is far from a certainty.
Time to Fly
Buffalo’s defense hasn’t played at a championship level this season, whereas the Ravens allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL this year. Ultimately, the Ravens are more likely to slow down Allen than the Bills are likely to keep Jackson contained. Bet on the Ravens as road underdogs to upset the Bills on the road.
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