Writer: Matt McFatridge
Game: Buffalo Bills vs. Baltimore Ravens
In what may be one of the best games of the weekend, at least in the AFC, the Buffalo Bills welcome the red hot Baltimore Ravens to town. Baltimore brings a high scoring offense led by Lamar Jackson and a swarming defense that can cause problems for anyone.
They play a style of football that can travel anywhere and win against anyone. Buffalo also has a good team, however, as Josh Allen looks to continue his great play. Paired with offensive playmakers all around him and a great defense as well, the Bills are in the mix to still get the number one overall seed in the AFC if they beat the Ravens and get some help these next few weeks.
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The best matchup in this game, on both sides, will be the young quarterbacks against some of the best defenses in the NFL. Both Jackson and Allen were first-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, and have shown why they were selected so highly with both their arms and their feet this season.
While Lamar Jackson is on pace to break the NFL rushing yards record by a quarterback, Josh Allen is just as good with his legs and can make plays when needed, as evidenced with his eight rushing touchdowns this season. It will be imperative for both teams’ defensive lines and linebackers to win at the line of scrimmage and force the issue behind the line of scrimmage.
The Bills will need a solid effort from their interior defensive linemen Jordan Phillips and Ed Oliver, as well as their linebackers and safeties. Stopping the run will be the number one priority, and with the option being run heavily, they need to bottle up not only Mark Ingram, but be sure to force Lamar Jackson to hold onto the ball and allow their speedier playmakers on defense to contain him and bring him down.
The more hits that Lamar takes, the better for the Bills. It’s a hard task to ask, though, as seemingly nobody has been able to do it during this phenomenal stretch the Ravens are currently on.
In the end, the game will be close throughout, but Baltimore’s offense is in such a great stride right now that they make a few more plays than Buffalo and find a way to win. The game will be closer than the final score indicates, and the Bills have to wait one more week to potentially clinch a playoff berth for the first time in the Josh Allen era.
Prediction: Ravens 31, Bills 17