It seems like in recent years the Baltimore Ravens have always had that one game during the course of the regular season where they lose to a seemingly inferior team. We can talk about the Jacksonville Jaguars or Tennessee Titans games in 2011, or the Philadelphia Eagles game last year.
By now one would have to think that the Ravens are well aware of their issues during the regular season on the road as they go into week four facing the Buffalo Bills. The Bills may be 1-2, but they have a lot of talent on that team. By no stretch of the imagination should people consider the Bills a cakewalk.
Bills’ running back CJ Spiller is expected to play this week, and he is home run threat every time he touches the ball. They still have talent on the outside in wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who can torch a secondary when his mind is right. Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel is obviously a threat to run the ball as well as the Bills use the read-option from time to time, and the Ravens have yet to be tested by such an offense this year.
I would expect the Ravens’ defense to stack eight in the box, and make Manuel throw as the Bills’ a passing offense is ranked 25th in the NFL. They certainly looked overwhelmed against the New York Jets last week, but we all know that when the Ravens are on the road during the regular season, anything can happen.
The Bills defense features players like Mario Williams and Kyle Williams on the defensive line. If you are the Ravens you have to be concerned, especially with the lackluster play along the offensive line so far this season. Combine that with the fact that Mario Williams had 4.5 sacks in one game already this year? Bryant McKinnie and Michael Oher better be at their best.
Despite the kind of pass rush the Bills can generate, I expect the Ravens’ offense will test the Bills’ secondary deep down the field early, and often. The good news for the Ravens is the fact that the Bills’ defense has allowed five plays of over 40 yards already this season through the air.
The other good news for the Ravens entering this game against the Bills’ defense is the fact that the Bills are allowing 155 yards rushing per game. If there is any time for this offensive line to get back on track it is this week. I think the Ravens can control the clock, and have the most balanced game they have had on the offensive side of the ball this year.
At the end of the day, the Bills have talent on paper. But they certainly can be had. However, if the Ravens can’t get it together, they may be looking at a game they wish they had back, and the Bills are more than capable of making the Ravens look silly in the process.
In the end, I think the Ravens will pull this one out to go 3-1.