In a divisional round full of good matchups, the most intriguing features the Baltimore Ravens (11-5) taking on the Buffalo Bills (13-3). The Bills will host this one from Bills Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 8:15 pm ET on Saturday.
To get here, the Ravens had to fight their way to a 20-13 win over the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card round. In the victory, Lamar Jackson had 179 yards passing and a touchdown. He was even more impressive on the ground, rushing for 136 yards and another touchdown.
The Bills had their hands full against the Indianapolis Colts last weekend, just squeaking by, 27-24, to move on. In the victory, Josh Allen threw for 324 yards and a couple of touchdowns. While not quite as mobile as Lamar Jackson, Allen also led his team in rushing with 54 yards and a score.
The Bills are the slight favorite playing at home. They are currently -122 to win while the Ravens’ moneyline sits at +104. The spread features Baltimore +1.5, while the over/under for total points is 50.
By The Numbers
Offensively, these are two of the best scoring teams in the NFL. Buffalo ranks second in scoring, averaging 31.1 points per game (40.3 in their last three). The Ravens rank seventh, averaging 28.7 per game.
The two have very different styles on offense. Buffalo ranks third in passing with 289.5 yards per game. The Ravens are first in rushing yards, averaging 194.5 per game.
Defensively, it is Baltimore that holds the advantage. The Ravens rank second in scoring defense, allowing an average of 18.6 points per game. The Bills are 15th, allowing an average of 23.5 points per game.
Baltimore Looks To Keep Rolling
As well as the Bills have played, the Ravens are arguably the hottest team in football right now. They have won six games in a row and haven’t given up more than 14 points in any of the last four. With both sides of the ball clicking, they are a dangerous matchup for the Bills.
Leading the way under center is Jackson. During the regular season, he threw for 2,757 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 1,005 yards and another seven touchdowns.
What makes Baltimore the best rushing attack in the NFL is that not only can Jackson beat you, but it has a two-headed monster in the backfield in J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Dobbins rushed for 805 yards and nine touchdowns this season, while Edwards rushed for 723 yards and six scores.
Defensively, the team is led by Patrick Queen (106 tackles), Yannick Ngakoue (eight sacks) and Marcus Peters (four interceptions).
Hot At Home
The Ravens aren’t the only ones with a winning streak. After their win over the Colts last week, the Bills have now won seven in a row and have enjoyed an 8-1 record when playing at home this season. They will look to take advantage of this momentum to get to the AFC championship next week.
Leading the way for the Bills has been Allen. This season, Allen has thrown for 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has also rushed for 421 yards and another eight touchdowns.
Allen’s best wide receiver has been Stefon Diggs, and this should be a fascinating matchup to watch as he will likely square off with the Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey. During the regular season, Diggs had 127 receptions for 1,535 yards and eight scores.
Defensively, the team was led by Jordan Poyer (124 tackles), Tre’Davious White (three interceptions), and both A.J. Klein and Mario Addison (five sacks each).
Taking The Ravens And The Points
For quite a stretch, it seemed like the Buffalo Bills were the team to beat in the AFC, but since the “COVID-19 game” against the Steelers (their last loss), the Ravens have just been electric.
Jackson proved that he can win in the playoffs last week, and look for him and the defense to step up against the Bills this week. The defense will certainly have their work cut out for them, but the offense faces a mediocre Bills defense.
This one could truly go either way, but for my money, I am taking the Ravens and the 1.5 points.