Baltimore Ravens vs Buffalo Bills (By: JotTeWe)
Finally, the NFL returns. Let's start with the first home match for the Ravens, hosting the Buffalo Bills.
The Ravens are highly favorited in this one, deservedly. They played a decent preseason (business as usual) and look sharp on both sides of the ball. Their defence might be something special this year, despite the loss of star Conerback Jimmy Smith due to a suspension (4 games). With Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey as CB1 and CB2 and probably Tavon Young as Nickel they will shut down the passing game with ease.
If one of those guys fails, there is still the veteran safety duo Weddle / Jefferson - the secondary is simply loaded.
Grandmaster Terrell Suggs will provide some nice pass rush, completing what looks to be one very decent pass defence. The key to beat the Ravens defence on passing downs is (was and probably always will be) looking for mismatches on short or intermediate routes between the hashmarks. Linebacker C.J. Mosley is simply not learning how to cover tight ends or running backs.
Yet, the Ravens new DC Don Martindale shows some promising schemes and might surely find ways to solve this problem.
The rush defence will once more depend on an healthy Brandon WIlliams. They sorely missed him when he was injured. Here, CJ Mosley shines and will provide first and second level tacklings all day long.
On the offensive side of the ball, it looks like Joe Flacco might finally play up to the contract he signed following his phenomenal playoff campaign (including Superbowl MVP) in 2013. Yet, they lost their first draft pick tight end Hayden Hurst to an injury, which is really sad - he looked special and was Flaccos premier target in preseason. Anyway, they bolstered their WR corps, adding veteran Crabtree as well as speed receiver John Brown for the slot and Willy Snead as projected second starter.
Aley Collins will lead the RB squad and hopefully be able to reproduce his last years performance.
Special teams: Business as usual. Justin Tucker is still the NFLs most accurate Kicker of all time and is yet to miss a single extra point, while veteran Sam Koch punts it another year. Long Snapper Cox completes the wolf pack, they will be special indeed (as always).
The Bills just named Nathan Peterman their starting QB. First round pick Josh Allen showed much of his talent in preseason but is, as all of this years rookie QBs, simply not ready to start in the NFL yet. Petermans perfomance in preseason was good, but keep in mind that this was the case last year, too - he then played aweful in his first NFL games (2 TD, 5 INT). The Ravens defence is known to be especially effective against young QBs...
Buffalo will supposedly start CHarles Clay at TE. They like to use him in their passing game, which might, as mentioned above, be a key to success vs. the Ravens.
Their WR1 and WR2 will be Kelvin Benjamin (really good guy, but injury prone) and Andre Holmes (who never played uo to expectations). After all, the Bills' WR corps is so-so at best and should be handled by the Ravens secondary without greater problems.
The Bills defence is kinda hard to project. They got a potential great linebacker in the first round of this years draft in T: Edmunds, aquired Star Lotulelei from the Panthers and Vontae Davis from the Colts. They're trying to mix some young players with potential with some veterans like the two mentioned above or L.Alexander, which could either be a great idea or fail big. We will have to see what their second year DC can do with those guys.
To me, the Ravens simply look like the far more complete team and should win their home opener with ease. I simply cannot see the Bills making many points due to the dominant hosts defence, so let's try some handicap. It depends of how much Flacco can do without his rookie TE Hurst, but I see the Ravens in front by at least one TD. Thus, I put my Stake on a Ravens win -7 points.
Baltimore Ravens vs Buffalo Bills predictions
|Baltimore Ravens -7||Bet365||1.80||9||47-3 WON (+7.2 units)|
Baltimore Ravens vs Buffalo Bills betting preview represents the personal opinion of the author (JotTeWe).