Looking to bounce back after their loss to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday, the Buffalo Bills travel to M&T Bank Stadium to battle the Baltimore Ravens in week 4. Heading into the fourth quarter with the lead against their bitter AFC East rival, a Chase Edmonds touchdown run would give Mike McDaniel's team a lead they would not relinquish. Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson and company improved to 2-1 a week ago with a convincing 37-26 victory over the New England Patriots. The former 32nd overall pick continued his MVP campaign. He completed 18 of his 29 passes for 218 yards and four touchdowns. With the Ravens capturing five of the last eight matchups between these two franchises, here is what to expect in this one.
One of the best offenses in the NFL through the early parts of the season, Buffalo currently ranks third in points per game (30.33) and second in yards per game (441.3). Led by the tandem of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, the former is currently third in passing yards while the latter is first in touchdown receptions. Aiming to bounce back after letting the game slip away in Miami a week ago, the team will square off against a Ravens secondary that has been searching for answers early on. Despite getting their top two cornerbacks in, Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, back healthy after both battled injuries a year ago, the group ranks last in the league in yards allowed per game (353.3).
For the first time in nearly two decades, Buffalo's defense finished first in the league in both points per game and yards allowed per game last season. They are, once again, off to a strong start on that side of the ball. The team ranks inside the top five in almost every major statistical category. Along with this, they are also tied for second in the league in takeaways (7). Led by the play of their revamped defensive line, the unit will face a significant test in trying to shut down Jackson and the high-flying Baltimore offense. Making a case for his second MVP award, the University of Louisville alumn is leading the NFL in passing touchdowns (10) while averaging 9.4 yards per attempt on the ground.
Choosing to bet on himself after turning down a reported five-year contract extension worth more than $250 million, Jackson is off to a sizzling start to begin his 2022 campaign. He has led Baltimore to a 2-1 record and a tie with the Cleveland Browns atop the AFC North. The 25-year-old is completing nearly 64 percent of his passes while leading the NFL with a quarterback rating of 119.0. Along with this, he has already tossed ten touchdown passes while averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game. Set to face a significant test against Buffalo's defense, Leslie Frazier's unit will head into this one banged up for a second straight week. Cornerback Christian Benford and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips have already been ruled out, while safety Jordan Poyer is questionable with a foot injury.
The Raven's agreed to part ways with longtime defensive coordinator Don Martindale at the end of last season. The franchise hired longtime Michigan Wolverines coach Mike McDonald to take over. He has underwhelmed mightily early on in his first season. Baltimore's unit has struggled to slow down opposing passing attacks. Faced with multiple new faces in the secondary, they allowed both Joe Flacco and Mac Jones to eclipse 300 yards through the air, leading them to rank dead last in the league in passing yards allowed per game. Still, without their top linebackers in Justin Houston, the group has also failed to muster up consistent pressure. Currently ranked 24th in the NFL in sack percentage, the team will hope that the newly signed Jason Pierre-Paul can help bolster their pass rush.
Points Spread: BUF -3 (-110) | BAL +3 (-110)
Moneyline: BUF -160 | BAL +140
Over/Under: O 51.0 (-110) | U 51.0 (-110)
Taking a look at the spread of three points, take Buffalo to cover in a potential game of the year candidate. The Bills offense has picked up right where they off from a year ago early on. Josh Allen is completing more than 70 percent of his throws 20 plus yards downfield. Spelling trouble for a Baltimore defense that has been hampered by giving up big plays, opposing quarterbacks are completing 67 percent of these plays against them. Lastly, when examining the game total of 51, take the over in what should be a shootout out from the start. With 10 of the last 15 Ravens games going over the number, even with the remnants of Hurricane Ian likely to play a role in this one, both teams are too explosive not to put up points.
In a matchup between two of the most electrifying players in the game, Allen and Jackson will square off for just the third time in their young careers. Buffalo is aiming to get back in the win column after disappointingly falling to the Dolphins last Sunday. On the flip side, Baltimore is hoping to build off their victory over the Patriots and move to 3-1 before a clash with the Cincinnati Bengals in week 5. While there will be no shortage of offense in this one, with both teams ranked inside the NFL in points per game, the Bills head into this one playing better on defense and should be able to generate a few stops to pull out the victory.
Final Score: Buffalo Bills 35, Baltimore Ravens 30