2013 Season: Buffalo Bills vs Baltimore Ravens Throwback

Oct 18, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) and center Eric Wood (70) during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 18, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) and center Eric Wood (70) during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buffalo Bills match up against the Baltimore Ravens for Week 1 of the regular season. Their last matchup was on September 29, 2013.

With the Buffalo Bills preparing for training camp at the end of this month, that can only mean that the regular season is right around the corner. With that being said, we will be doing a series of Buffalo Bills throwback posts to gear up for the regular season.

Going through each matchup this season, we will be giving you a throwback to when the Bills last saw their opponent, how that game went, as well as a super-early prediction.

Before we begin, here’s a quick look at the Bills’ full 2016 regular season schedule in case you haven’t had a chance to take a peek, yet:

Buffalo Bills vs Baltimore Ravens: Sunday, September 11th at 1:00 PM ET

Last Matchup: Week 4 on Sunday, September 29, 2013 (W 23-20)

The Buffalo Bills haven’t faced off against the Baltimore Ravens in quite a while. In fact, the last time the two met was the year following the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory against the San Francisco 49ers.

When Week 4 of the 2013 season came around, the Bills found themselves sitting at 1-2, while the Ravens were riding a two-game winning streak with a record of 2-1. The Ravens, who were the defending Super Bowl champions, were looking to keep their streak alive to make another run at the playoffs. On the other hand, the Bills were still looking to make some noise in the league, something they haven’t done for a while.

The game was played at Ralph Wilson Stadium, where the Bills were 1-1 on the season. Prior to this game, the Bills had lost to the New York Jets, won over the Carolina Panthers and dropped their season opener against the Patriots. They had high hopes going into this Week 4 matchup against Baltimore, despite the Ravens coming off a two-game winning streak at home.

Under new defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, the Bills were still working on some kinks to their new defensive scheme — which was switched to an attacking 4-3 defense. After giving up 513 yards of total offense to the Jets in Week 3, the Bills weren’t going to let Joe Flacco and company push them around this game. It’s also important to note that the Bills were working under a new head coach, Doug Marrone.

Right off the bat, the Bills were making things tough for the entire Ravens’ offense. On the Ravens’ first seven possessions, the Bills managed to hold them to just 45 yards of offense and only three first downs. They were doing a good job of stopping the run and limiting Flacco’s chemistry with his receivers. Although the game was close throughout all four quarters, the Bills’ defense made it seem the opposite.

All in all, the Bills would only allow 24 total rushing yards the entire game. 17 of those went to Ray Rice, who had just returned from an injury, while Bernard Pierce picked up the other 7. It was a huge upgrade for the Bills, who had allowed the Jets to rush for 182 yards the previous week.

On the other hand, their pass defense saw one of their better days in Bills’ history. Joe Flacco ended the game with 347 yards and two touchdowns, while completing 25 of his 50 passes for a 50% completion rate. That stat line doesn’t seem too bad, especially when you add in the fact that WR Torrey Smith had 166 yards and a touchdown on five catches.

However, that would be the only positive thing to take away from this game, as he also finished the game with five total interceptions. Two Bills’ players found a way to exploit Flacco at a high level, with LB Kiko Alonso and S Aaron Williams each intercepting Flacco two times. The other interception came from Jim Leonhard.

The Bills also saw their attacking defense strategy do well with rushing the passer, with Marcell Dareus sacking Flacco a total of two times.

On offense, the Bills made most of their noise by running it. With a very talented running back duo in Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller, they made use of it by giving them 39 carries split between the two backs. Although Spiller would see more touches, with 23 in the game, Jackson would have the stronger running day. Spiller would finish the game with 77 yards, while Jackson would finish with 87 yards and a 14-yard touchdown score.

Overall, the Bills finished with 203 rushing yards against the Baltimore Ravens, which is a nice accomplishment considering the Ravens only allowed 224 in the first three games of the season.

The Bills’ starting quarterback at the time, EJ Manuel, didn’t have a huge game. However, his efforts were enough to bring home the 23-20 victory over the Ravens. Manuel finished the game with 167 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The win extended the Bills’ record to 2-2, while bringing the Ravens to the same conclusion. Their five interceptions against Flacco were the most for the Bills since intercepting the Jets six times in 2009.

2016 Week 1 Early Prediction

I know, it’s super early for making regular season predictions. However, it keeps things interesting and tests my abilities to the full extent.

First off, a lot has changed for both of these teams since the last time they met. The Bills have a different starting quarterback, a completely new running back crew, an almost-entirely-new wide receiver corps and a very different coaching staff/scheme. On the other hand, the Ravens can say a lot of the same.

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  • The Bills will be switching back to the base 3-4 defense this year and looking at their roster, the transition should be a positive one. They also have a stronger defensive back group, which will be led by former NFL player, coach Ed Reed. Not to mention Dennis Thurman, who has been the team’s defensive coordinator since 2015, stating that he will be focusing a lot on the team’s defensive backs this year due to the addition of defensive-guru Rob Ryan.

    I also like the matchup between the Bills’ corners and the Ravens’ wide receivers. The Bills have a lot of young talent on the outsides, not to mention having a top-3 cornerback in Stephon Gilmore. That cornerback tandem will be matching up against Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman. Smith is currently 37 years old and entering the end of his career. On the other hand, Perriman hasn’t even caught a pass in the NFL yet and is also battling a knee injury still from last season.

    On offense, a lot is going to depend on the physical health of their players. On paper, the Bills possibly have one of the most explosive attacks in the league. However, that doesn’t make a difference if you can’t make it happen on game day. Needless to say, we’ll see a lot come training camp and preseason — regarding their offense and how far it has come in the past year. We will also get a chance to see who will be taking the field for Week 1, which is a little bit unknown at the moment with some of the positions.

    I see a big game from both Tyrod Taylor and Robert Woods. Woods has a lot to play for this season and will take every opportunity to do so. Sammy Watkins will most likely be limited, whether it be due to injury or due to stellar cornerback play by the Ravens.

    Related Story: Buffalo Bills' Preseason Schedule

    Overall, I can see this game being decided by which defense can stop the offense more effectively. Expect to be on the edge of your seats most of the game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this game be decided in the final minutes like in 2013.

    My Prediction: Buffalo Bills win 27-21

    What is your prediction for the Bills’ Week 1 matchup vs. the Baltimore Ravens? Leave your comments below!