One of the most anticipated matchups for the divisional round of the playoffs is the Baltimore Ravens and the Buffalo Bills. So much is expected to come from this game with so much young talent on both teams. Both Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson are both 24-years old, and started in the NFL the same year in 2018. Each quarterback has had their own success for their teams as they each want to make a push to the AFC Conference game.
Red Hot Lamar Jackson Will Be Hard to Stop- Unless it Snows
Jackson had been red hot for the last few games. Against the Tennessee Titans, He led the team in rushing yards with 136 including a long 48-yard touchdown run. Jackson has the potential to be electrifying for the Ravens this weekend.
The big issue for the Ravens this season is the passing game. Jackson was not running the ball as much in the beginning of the season, which resulted in the Ravens potentially missing the playoff when they were 6-5 by Week 12. However, the Ravens have been on a hot streak, winning their last six games all thanks to their star quarterback.
There is snow projected in the forecast this weekend in Buffalo. This can greatly affect Jackson, who has never played a game in the snow.
“Saturday would be my first time playing football in the snow, if it does. Hopefully, it don’t,” said Jackson to ESPN. The weather can be a huge factor in the game this weekend if Jackson can’t handle running in the snow. Plus with the passing game weak on the Ravens, the Bills can take advantage of the snow in their favor.
Jackson also has a chance to make some history this weekend. According to NBC Sports, in just three playoff games, Jackson has totaled 333 rushing yards and is just 23 rushing yards away from overtaking Steve McNair for seventh all-time in quarterback rushing yards in NFL playoff history.
Josh Allen is the Favorite Over the Ravens
There is no secret that Allen is having his best season of his career so far. During the regular season Allen totaled 173 completions with 1,933 passing yards and 37 touchdown passes, fifth in the league. He led the Bills to a 13-3 record for the first time since 1991, he led his team to win the AFC East title for the first time since 1995, and he also led his team to their first playoff win since 1995.
Allen can be a nightmare for the Ravens’ defense, as he threw for over 300 yards with a 74 percent completion rate against one of the best defenses in the league. He also became the youngest quarterback to ever do that in a playoff game according to ESPN.
Last season Allen played in his first ever NFL playoff game where he lost to the Houston Texans in overtime 22-19. Allen learned a lot from that game and made sure to not repeat the same mistakes he did last year.
“We were able to take what we learned last year and take it into this game,” said Allen to ESPN. “Not trying to press or do too much. Let the game come to us. That’s what we did. Obviously, we started off a little slow and we were able to get into a rhythm late. Made enough plays to win. I’m still kicking myself for a couple plays.”
The Bills can use the snow to their advantage, however the Ravens’ defense will make it very difficult for Allen to connect with wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. Against the Titans, the Ravens only allowed one touchdown while limiting running back Derrick Henry to only 40 rushing yards. Allen does have an edge over Jackson in the passing game, but will it be enough to get past the red-hot Ravens’ defense?
Who the Experts are Choosing this Weekend
The majority of the experts are choosing the Bills to take the game over the Ravens. The Bills have a much better passing game than the Ravens that can be lethal to the Ravens’ defense. Allen is coming off one of the best games for a young quarterback in NFL playoff history with over 300 passing yards against the Colts.
The Ravens do still run the ball very well. Jackson can easily run around the whole Bills defense, along with running back J.K Dobbins, however with pending snow in Orchard Park, the Ravens will have a huge disadvantage if there is snow on Saturday Night.
The game decider will definitely be the Bills’ defense and how they can manage to stop the running game of the Ravens. Safety Jordon Poyer has had a great season with 124 tackles while linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano can make it very possible to stop Jackson and the Ravens running game.