“Buffalo Wild Things”

Special PreviewWeek 14

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills

Ravens: Eight wins in a row. That’s where the streak stands now. They became the second team in the AFC to win ten games. Their showdown against the San Francisco didn’t disappoint one bit. Whenever we get those big games, nine times out of ten, it’s a lopsided battle. That wasn’t the case on Sunday in Baltimore. Both teams fought hard for the win. I wouldn’t mind seeing those two battle again in February. What I enjoy about the Ravens is they’re having fun playing football. When they’re on offense, it looks as if they’re playing backyard football. Here’s the thing about great football teams: They can win games in different ways. This streak has some impressive wins. They beat the Seahawks in Seattle, handed the Patriots their first loss, dismantled the Houston Texans, destroyed the defending NFC champion Rams in Los Angeles then they defeated the 49ers in a close one. This team feels they can compete with anyone. I think people are really beginning to buy into them more as the weeks go on. At first, I wasn’t sold on their defense. They were struggling in the beginning to make stops and get off the field. After the acquisition of Marcus Peters, everything just began to click for them. The tandem of Peters and Earl Thomas keeps everything together in the secondary. They’ll be looking to extend the winning streak to nine with a trip to Orchard Park, New York on Sunday afternoon.

Bills: Outside of where they play, I don’t think many know about them. Last Thursday on Thanksgiving Day was the perfect opportunity to for them to introduce themselves to the football world. They were the only game on during that time slate. I was expecting the Dallas Cowboys to come out with a strong chip on their shoulder. That wasn’t the case though. That was a huge win for Buffalo to keep them in the hunt for one of the two Wild Card spots in the AFC. The thing I enjoy about the Buffalo Bills is they just play football how it’s supposed to be played. They don’t run many trick plays; they aren’t fancy, nor do they want to. They just want to get the ball down the field. I remember the 2018 NFL Draft like it was yesterday. I thought Josh Allen was the best quarterback in the draft class. I really thought he’d go first overall that year. It’s been a year of parody to say the least in the NFL this season. Who in their right minds thought the Buffalo Bills would be sitting at 9-3 in December? There are so many coaches who deserve much consideration for coach of the year. Sean McDermott is one of them in my opinion. If they want to extend their winning streak to four in a row, they’ll have to take down the hottest team in the NFL right now. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens will come to town. They’ve made one statement already. Now try to make another if you can.

Ravens Player to Watch: Brandon Williams– He’s the tone setter for this entire Ravens defense. Especially up front. I like his burst and quickness off the ball. He’s also become one of the best run stoppers in the NFL. For a man of his size, he’s an athletic guy. Brandon is a very powerful force up front for one of the best defenses in the league. With containment from the defensive ends, he can help close in on trying to limit Josh Allen from moving out the pocket to extend the play.

Bills Player to Watch: Jerry Hughes– His specialty is rushing the passer. He’ll have his hands full trying to keep Lamar in that pocket on Sunday. Anytime he’s on the field, he feels he can make himself known off the edge. He’s either trying to take the quarterback down or go for the football. I like his pursuit of the quarterback. You block his first lane; he’ll dip under and go the other way. He’s relentless.

Final Analysis: This is another big game in the AFC. With the Patriots losing to the Houston Texans, the Baltimore Ravens now occupy the number one seed in the conference for the time being because they own the head to head tiebreaker. This is the first meeting between quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. Both were drafted in the 2018 draft. It’s a key factor that the Bills play zone coverage to keep their eyes on Lamar. When you play man to man on a quarterback of his caliber, that’s taking your eyes off him which allows him to run free. This will be an aggressive defensive front the Ravens will see from Buffalo. Keeping Josh Allen in that pocket is a major priority for the Ravens. That’s one part of his game that people are realizing makes him stand out.

Prediction: Ravens 28 Bills 17

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