NFL Picks – Bills need to convert better to beat Ravens
For the Buffalo Bills, last Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins was a painful experience. After rolling past their first two opponents, the Bills looked like a juggernaut that was almost untouchable. And if you look at the team stats, you’d think the same thing happened at Hard Rock Stadium.
But alas, it didn’t.
The Bills went up and down the field all day long but got stopped at the most inopportune times. The result was a 21-19 defeat that will stick in their collective craw for a while.
The Baltimore Ravens know full well what it’s like to lose in frustrating fashion to the Dolphins, having done it the week before. Still, there is no denying the potential for offensive explosiveness.
And so the question for BetOnline patrons in evaluating this game is whether the Ravens can trade punches all the way. OR maybe vice versa. It takes place at M&T Bank Stadium at 1 PM ET Sunday.
Here are the numbers, as the Buffalo Bills are laying points on the road:
|Bills||-3 ( -110 )||51 ( -110 )||-165|
|Ravens||+3 ( -110 )||51 ( -110 )||+140|
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Looking at the Buffalo Bills
There is almost nothing about Buffalo Bills that didn’t look awesome last weekend. Against the same Miami team that came from way back against the Ravens, they dominated the sheet. Buffalo had 497 total yards compared to just 212 for the Dolphins. They had 31 first downs. They averaged five yards a carry, while Miami had less than half of that. They held the ball for more than 42 minutes and ran NINETY plays.
But they failed in four plays from the one-yard line late in the fourth quarter. And then, having the Dolphins pinned back, Miami punter Thomas Morstead booted the ball into his own man, producing a safety. After the free kick, Josh Allen drove his team down again, but the Dolphins made another defensive stand.
After weeks of the season, Buffalo leads the league in yards gained and points scored per drive. They are also first in yards allowed per drive. They wiped out the Rams and Titans. Yet Buffalo is now 2-1 and the second-place team in the AFC East.
Looking at the Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is campaigning for perhaps the biggest contract ever given to an NFL quarterback. And he’s playing like it. Jackson has 749 passing yards and ten TD passes. He’s also run for 243 yards, including a 79-yarder against the Dolphins. Unfortunately, in that game two weeks ago, the Baltimore secondary could not prevent the big play. And so Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill provided a feat for Tua Tagovailoa (469 yards). Miami came from a 35-14 deficit after three quarters to win 42-38.
That was a big blow, but these Ravens came back nicely with a 37-26 win over the Patriots. It’s never been much of a secret that Jackson’s favorite target is tight end Mark Andrews. And this season the former Oklahoma Sooner has 22 receptions, the only receiver in double figures on the Baltimore squad. Jackson doesn’t have any problem throwing it down the field either. His 10.8 Intended Air Yards per attempt is second highest in the NFL.
So, what’s the verdict?
The Ravens have converted 80% of their red zone opportunities into touchdowns, and that’s a point in their favor. But we are suspicious of their secondary. That wasn’t exposed against the Jets or Pats, but the Dolphins went deep on them. WR Stefon Diggs is red-hot (344 yards, four TD’s). And coach Sean McDermott, who has some experience in holding down Jackson, now has Von Miller in the fold.
Baltimore has covered seven of its last eight as a regular season dog. But we’re going to place some value on the statistical dominance the Bills have shown thus far and lay the points.
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