Ravens at Bills
RSR Staff weighs in with their Bold Predictions for the Ravens at Bills on Sunday, December 8 at New Era Field.
The (10-2) Ravens travel to Orchard Park, NY to take on the (9-3) Bills as 6-point road favorites. The Bills are coming off a 26-15 Thanksgiving Day victory over the Cowboys while the Ravens escaped a rain-soaked M&T Bank Stadium with a 20-17 win over a tough 49ers team. The outcome is one that probably pleased NJ Online Casinos given the wagering on the Ravens who were favored by as much as 6 1/2 points.
The Bills are the more rested of the teams, with three extra days to prepare and most believe that should help Sean McDermott & Co as they look to keep pressure on the Patriots in their quest for the AFC East title. If the Bills are to pull off the upset, they will need to make the game a defensive battle with their No. 3 ranked defense. The Bills average slightly less than 20 points this season at New Era Field.
But the Bills have defeated only one winning team so far in 2019 – the Titans, and that’s when the Marcus Mariota was behind center for Tennessee. Since the 2014 Heisman winner was benched the Titans are (5-1) behind Ryan Tannehill. And while the Bills defense has been impressive statistically, let’s not forget that they have faced only four teams that even have a top-23 offense and their rushing defense is ranked 21st in yards per carry at 4.5.
When they hosted the Eagles on October 27, Philly ran roughshod over the Bills for 218 yards in a 31-13 losing effort. Against the Browns the Bills gave up 146 yards as Cleveland averaged over 6.0 YPC. Neither of those teams bring the ground attack that the Ravens do.
So, what’s going down at New Era?
• The Ravens will eclipse that impressive performance by the Eagles, running for 240+ yards split nearly evenly among Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards. Lamar will surpass Michael Vick’s QB rushing record of 1,039 yards by the beginning of the fourth quarter. He needs 63 yards to do so.
• Marquise Brown will score from 50+ yards out following a coverage breakdown that leaves the rookie wide open. Hollywood will also score on a shallow crosser in the red zone.
• Hayden Hurst also finds pay dirt. His day will include a catch and run of over 25+ yards.
• Marlon Humphrey will contribute a strip sack that is scooped up by Jaylen Ferguson and taken in for a score.
• Josh Allen will make a few plays with his legs and he’ll extend a play to hit former Ravens WR John Brown on a throw of 30+ yards for a score. Cole Beasley also gathers in a scoring toss from Allen in garbage time. In the end, it will all be too little, too late as the Ravens control the game from start to finish.
Ravens 38 Bills 17
— The Bills are 9-3, but are still flying under the radar. Perhaps that’s because they’ve only beaten one team that currently has a winning record (Tennessee). Still, the Ravens won’t underestimate Buffalo with so much at stake with their season.
— The Ravens can clinch a playoff berth with a victory. That incentive won’t be lost on the team. Baltimore has already handled two teams that have the best front seven in the league — Rams and 49ers — so they should match up well with Buffalo.
— The wild card is Josh Allen. The Ravens have been mostly solid against mobile quarterbacks, but Allen is a different type of athlete at 6-foot-5, 238-pounds. Allen has thrown for 2,591 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has run for 430 yards on 93 carries with eight touchdowns. He will test the Ravens on the ground and through the air.
— The Bills admittedly started studying how to stop Lamar Jackson as soon as their game against Dallas ended. Once again, opponents have tried to emulate Jackson in practice and failed.
— The Ravens are riding an NFL-best eight-game winning streak and hold the top seed in the AFC playoffs. They won’t slow down this week.
Ravens 28 Bills 15
The Ravens are coming off of a physical, emotional win against the 49ers. The Bills will be on ten days rest after not playing since Thanksgiving in a game that gave them some momentum. Also, this game is in Buffalo, in what will be a playoff atmosphere. These factors will all be a recipe for a let down game right?
In past years it seemed like the Ravens were playing with the mentality they were afraid to lose. This year’s team puts its foot on your throat when you’re already down for the count. So regardless of all the factors working against the Ravens on the surface, this team’s confidence is enough to overcome it. I also think this game comes closer to resembling the Texans and Rams game than it does the 49ers game. The best team the Bills have beaten is a reeling Cowboys squad. Look at their schedule; it’s been quite a cakewalk.
Bills mafia heads for the gates after the 3rd quarter.
Ravens 38 Bills 13
The Baltimore Ravens come into this matchup as road favorites, something that’s starting to become a trend for this team. In rain-soaked conditions, there’s no question that the Ravens made their mark by knocking off arguably the NFC favorite to make it to the Super Bowl in the San Francisco 49ers.
The Buffalo Bills are riding high after delivering a dominating performance over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The weather forecast looks pretty good with 44-degree temperatures and 10-15mph winds. But take it from a guy who lives just 20 minutes from New Era field in Orchard Park: the weather hits a little different there. That 44 will be more like 35 and the winds could be a little stronger.
The Buffalo Bills are a solid football team, but they are not without their glaring weaknesses. Their defensive line has played better, but they have struggled to get home on the quarterback. They’ve faced one formidable offense to this point, and that was last week. We say it week in and week out: there’s just no replicating what the Ravens do on offense. This could prove to be the difference.
— The Ravens rushing attack will make quick work of the Bills defense and will eclipse over 200 yards.
— Lamar Jackson will shake yet another fan base who thinks he can’t throw, and will throw for over 200 yards and three touchdowns, one to Mark Andrews, one to Hayden Hurst and another to Hollywood Brown.
— The defense will stifle the run to the tune of 50 yards, and force Josh Allen to throw the ball 35+ times, resulting in a couple of interceptions.
Ravens 31 Bills 17
The Bills have had 10 days to prepare for Lamar Jackson, and they were spending their Sundays looking at film and relaxing while the Ravens traded heavyweight blows in the rain with the San Francisco 49ers.
Will any of that matter?
Ravens 27 Bills 17
On Sunday the Ravens will travel to Buffalo to play the 9-3 Bills. I’m seeing a lot of talk about how similar these two teams are and I’m not buying it. The Bills’ strength of schedule hasn’t been close to what the Ravens went through to get to a 10-2 record.
On offense, the Ravens will expose the Bills run defense. They rank 8th in attempts against but 21st in yards per attempt. Sound familiar? Those run defense numbers will look much different following Sunday’s game. I expect another big day from Mark Ingram and Lamar Jackson on the ground. The tight ends will continue giving defenses fits blocking and in the passing game. Marquise Brown will show off his speed with a long touchdown. By the 4th quarter Jackson will be resting and Robert Griffin III will close it out. The Ravens offense is 1st in average drive time, plays per drive, and points per drive. The Bills simply won’t be able to slow them down.
On defense, the Ravens will smother a Bills offense that hasn’t beaten a legitimate playoff team all season. Their offense ranks 15th in average drive time, 21st in plays per drive, and 22nd in points per drive. Noticing a trend? The Bills will make a few plays but the defense will force a few turnovers and get after Josh Allen all day. The Ravens will take Allen’s favorite targets John Brown and Cole Beasley out of the game using a combination of Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Jimmy Smith.
The Ravens improve to 11-2.
Ravens 41 Bills 17
— The Ravens might be catching a break in that a December game in Buffalo doesn’t call for snow — at this point, at least. However, Baltimore has never won in Buffalo, which is not very concerning to me, but is an intriguing nugget.
— This game features the two best quarterbacks of the 2018 NFL Draft, which is a fun side story, but also features two teams that are fighting to stay in contention for a top seed in the AFC. Yes, the Bills are very much in the race for the division and in conjunction the AFC crown. In my opinion, this team is the real deal.
— The Bills defense is legit, and might be the second-best that Baltimore has faced, behind San Francisco last week. While Jackson and company handled the Niners, the Bills have linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who I see posing problems against Lamar’s escapability. In this game, I think Jackson will have to complete more throws than he did last week.
— At the same time, I believe Baltimore is well-equipped to bottle up the Bills offense, which lacks weapons in the passing game. As a result, I expect the Ravens to stack the box and spy Allen. In doing so, they’ll hold Buffalo to simply too few points.
— We’ll see receiving touchdowns from Marquise Brown and Justice Hill, as well as another rushing score for Mark Ingram.
Ravens 24 Bills 13
Another big game again this week with major playoff implications that could determine the seeding or even clinching scenarios for the Ravens. This will be the first away game I’ve attended so I’m looking forward to it. The weather is expected to be 45 degrees and clear so I believe Lamar and the offense will be operating on all cylinders on Sunday. The Bills have some excellent defensive players but they don’t present the challenges that San Francisco did. Josh Allen and former Raven John Brown have found a connection with one another. Former Cowboy Cole Beasley has emerged as a nice weapon. Allen’s legs might be as dangerous as his big arm, as he has eight rushing touchdowns this season (Jackson has seven).
— Lamar reminds everyone that is was only the weather that slowed him down last week. He will throw for 3 touchdowns and rush for another
— Hollywood Brown will find the end zone and have over 100 receiving yards.
— Hayden Hurst and Patrick Ricard will have the other 2 receiving touchdowns.
— Earl Thomas picks off one of Josh Allen’s bombs.
— Marlon Humphrey will force a fumble with his million-dollar tight right hook
— Jaylon Ferguson will record his 2nd sack of the season.
Ravens 34 Bills 17
The hottest team in the NFL takes on the most underrated team in the NFL.
The Bills are also perhaps the most interesting team in the NFL. They posses a great defense lead by one of the league’s best coverage units, and a plethora of pass rushers. They also have an offense similar to Baltimore’s, lead by a great run game and a passing game that makes life easier on their second-year QB.
Josh Allen had a great game versus the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving day, but he has had a rather inconsistent season otherwise. He is wildly inaccurate, and throws a ton of passes that should result in turnovers that just play out on his favor. Yet, the team is 9-3, which says more about the coaching staff then the overall talent of the team.
While for Baltimore, they just keep finding ways to win. Lamar Jackson’s incredible second-year leap has resulted in a must-watch player and team. Everything has been clicking for them, but now it is entering a critical part of the year where you have to play for home field advantage.
Even though Buffalo has been playing great, and is coming off a win that should ignite confidence, I foresee this game playing out like their game against New England earlier this year.
— Josh Allen will struggle under pressure against Baltimore’s terrific secondary. He will throw for 200 yards and 1 score, while throwing two interceptions – one each to Marcus Peters and Earl Thomas.
— With Michael Pierce back in the lineup, the Bills run game will struggle, only managing 75 yards and 1 goal line score.
— Jaylon Fergerson will get hot (one of our edge rushers has too), sacking Allen twice and forcing one fumble.
— Lamar Jackson will dominate on the ground once again, as they play for possessions rather then a blowout score. He will break Mike Vick’s QB rushing mark and score another TD on the ground.
— As for the air, he will only throw for 150 yards. This Bills secondary is great and he won’t want to risk throwing to any of these guys too often. Add another TD reception each for Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews.
— Justice Hill comes alive in this game for 75+ yards one the ground with one score. His speed should be emphasized versus this fast Bills defense.
At this point in the year, you have to go with the hot hand. No other team has been as hot – yet still underrated – than Baltimore.
Ravens 21 Bills 13
The Bills are built and focused primarily on stopping the pass defensively. The Ravens obviously a unique test that will test their mettle in that regard. I think it’s pretty clear they’ll tweak that to some degree this week but it’ll be business as usual for the Baltimore run game. It’ll be a balanced effort as Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards will all run for over 60 yards. Ingram will be the paydirt recipient, punching in two short touchdowns.
The Bills have a legitimate standout pass defense so I don’t expect fireworks in the pass game but Lamar will remain smooth and efficient, hitting Mark Andrews for a score from 20 yards out.
Defensively, the Ravens will contain the run out of their nickel and lighter packages, be their usual deceptive selves and force Josh Allen to try to decipher who’s coming and consistently make the right decision. While he’s made leaps as a player, especially lately, the Ravens organized chaos will lead to two drive-killing interceptions by Allen.
Ravens 27 Bills 16