By Austin Payne
Someway, somehow, despite what we may have thought going into the season, Buffalo VS Baltimore may actually be a good game, and it might matter…but probably not.
Having just come off an impressive, yet offensively somewhat ugly, win against another top 5 team in the 49ER’s, the Ravens have little left to prove on their way to becoming division champions and suddenly boasting one of the leagues best young Quarterbacks. Buffalo on the other hand, wait, they also don’t have much to prove because they’ve already exceeded all of our expectations and we know they won’t get to the Super Bowl anyway…
Okay so scratch that, this game doesn’t really matter for either team. However, this win can definitely be pivotal in helping secure a first round bye for Baltimore, and for Buffalo, assuring that the unlikely chance of being overtaken by Pittsburgh grows even smaller. Oh, and you just beat one of the leagues most impressive teams.
Buffalo possesses a mediocre run defense and a great pass defense, statistically speaking. Baltimore is the opposite of this, having a better run defense than their 13th ranked passing defense. Despite their ranking though, it has significantly improved over the course of the season, especially after the addition of Marcus Peters. They are averaging 155.3 yards passing allowed per game over the last 3, which would rank 2nd in the league over that time span. (Teamrankings.com)
Combine the improving pass defense against an even better run stopping team, and this is a bad situation for the Bills. Buffalo’s pass defense is going in the opposite direction of the Ravens pass defense, regressing from a season average of 195.8 to 217.3 over the last few games. Lamar Jackson has been the definition of elite and special this year, so facing a somewhat regressing defense like this, and well, being him, we shouldn’t look for him to be caused too much harm by it.
Josh Allen on the other hand, though obviously improved, has been the epitome of…okay this year. He’s got a 16/8 touchdown to interception ratio, while completing 61% of his passes for about 216 yards per contest. (Yahoosports.com) Nothing….great. The basis of the Bills offense comes out of the backfield with, somehow still playing, Frank Gore, who serves as a compliment to the rookie Devin Singletary. Having really only one consistent receiver in the well traveled John Brown, the Bills are dependent upon the run game and Josh Allen’s dual threat abilities.
Put all of this together and what we get is that Baltimore has the better overall and improving defense, Baltimore has the special Quarterback and loaded offense to exploit the opponents defense, and Buffalo has just been…solid. But hey, if anyone was a candidate to catch this team slipping, it would definitely be a solid all around team like the 2019 Bills. So though logic would tell us it’s a sound bet the Ravens could dust these guys, i wouldn’t at all be surprised to see a slight upset.