PML Week 1 Game of the Week Preview – Bills (0-0) vs Ravens (0-0)
PML Week 1 Game of the Week – Bills (0-0) vs Ravens (0-0)
Tale of the Tape: Buffalo Bills
2021 5th seed in the AFC playoffs, finishing 12-4
2021 Super Bowl winner
14 game win streak including the playoffs
2021 Team Statistics
1st in total offensive yards
1st in passing yards
30th in rushing yards
5th in average points scored per game (38)
3rd in fewest yards allowed
4th in total pass defense
5th in total rush defense
6th in fewest points per game allowed (25)
Key offseason additions: WR Tyler Lockett, DE Sam Hubbard, RB Tevin Coleman, SS Rudy Ford
KMFO’s Players to Watch for the Buffalo Bills:
#14 WR Stefon Diggs: Diggs is arguably the best receiver in the NFL, and he only looks stronger now at 28 years old than he ever has before. Diggs will have a matchup against one of the top CBs in the entire league, Marlon Humphrey, and there are a lot of high expectations for the kind of dominance Diggs is supposed to have this year. This offense will need Diggs to start this season with a bang and prove why he can’t be matched up with by any CB in the league.
#17 QB Josh Allen: Allen is the early preseason favorite to win the MVP award in 2022. After an incredible super bowl performance where he finished with the highest QB rating in super bowl history, Allen is expected to carry that over into 2022 and remain efficient while also lighting up the stat sheet. He had a bad interception problem last season, so it’ll be important for his confidence to show week 1 that the frequent interceptions are in the past.
#91 DT Ed Oliver: Oliver was perhaps the most dominant interior defensive linemen in 2021 as he was the only defender in the league last season to record 10+ sacks and 15+ tackles for loss. His ability to wreck an offense’s game plan is unparalleled, and his dominance will be needed if the Bills are to slow down the Ravens offense. The Ravens have a dangerous rushing attack and Lamar can pass the ball with the best of them if he is given time in the pocket, so it’ll be on Oliver to make sure that the run lanes are closed and Lamar Jackson never feels comfortable in the pocket.
KMFO’s Keys to Victory for the Buffalo Bills:
Don’t turn the ball over. If the Ravens are given a short field to work with, they will be tough to keep off the scoreboard. It’ll be very important for Josh Allen to understand how crucial it will be to throw the ball away instead of forcing passes into coverage. He will need to find the balance of giving his amazing playmakers an opportunity to earn their paychecks by winning contested catches, and also being smart with the football.
Stop the run game. The Bills can’t allow Dobbins to beat them on the ground. They also can’t let Lamar Jackson rush all over them either, but in the battle of choices, the Bills need to remember what a few QB hits can do to a QB’s fatigue and maybe it’ll be better to let Jackson skate on their defense a couple times at the price of him being too tired to operate a successful finish to their offensive drives.
Get the Ravens off the field on 4th down. This matchup is going to put 2 coaches up against each other who have the balls to go for it on any 4th down & 4 or less past the 50 yard line. If the Bills want to win this game, they’ll have to remember that they need to play defense for 4 downs once that ball crosses midfield.
Tale of the Tape: Baltimore Ravens
#3 seed in the 2021 playoffs, finishing 13-3
Was upset in the wildcard round of the playoffs by the #6 Houston Texans
The highest rated overall team in PML
2021 Team Statistics
12th in total offensive yards
18th in passing yards
4th in rushing yards
3rd in average points per game (39)
2nd in fewest yards allowed
2nd in total pass defense
3rd in total run defense
2nd in fewest points allowed per game (22)
Key offseason additions: C Ryan Kelly, CB Bradley Roby
Goose’s Players to Watch for the Ravens
#8 QB Lamar Jackson. In the PML 2021 season, Jackson accumulated over 4,000 yards by land and air. Jackson’s ability to establish his will early is a very important must for the Ravens.
#93 Edge Calais Campbell. The 41st overall pick of the 2007 draft returns to the turf for his fifteenth season. The 6’8″ edge threat can occupy one whole side of the offensive line. His presence in the trenches will be a pivotal point for the Ravens Defense.
#44 DB Marlon Humphrey Humphrey must set the tone for the back four 4 against the visiting Bills dynamic offense.
Goose’s Keys to Victory For the Ravens
Controlling the clock can be a tough task when playing against a dynamic passing offense. Mainly because “take the air out ball” is easy to say when you aren’t the one between the 20s. Jackson will need to play an aggressive mistake-free football to keep the Bills defense uneasy.
The pressure from the Ravens front 7 will need to be effective early and often. Defensive Captain Campbell & Team Captain Miller will be counted on to set the tone for the game.
YAC. Ravens receivers will need to take 5-yard hitch routes and convert them to 17-yard gains. Wideout duo Marquise Brown & Miles Boykin well need to continue their playmaking ability with the ball in their hands because it is not easy to go over top on this secondary.
Goose’s GOTW Prediction
Bills 48 – Ravens 17
I do not believe the Baltimore secondary is in position to effectively contain this offense for four 10 minute quarters.
Bacon and Arod’s Hot Takes
It’s a bit difficult to give some good takes about a game I’m playing in, so I decided that I’d take the route of making some bold takes about players who we are going to see emerge in this week one matchup between the Super Bowl Champs and the AFC North Champs. This should be a great game with some amazing plays on both sides of the ball.
Isaiah Spiller unseats JK Dobbins as RB1
Dobbins has put together a very solid career thus far, going for over 1000 total yards and double-digit touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. He’s been the team’s lead back, taking some of the pressure off of Lamar Jackson in the process. However, he hasn’t really emerged as a special talent—he’s done his job but has yet to make anyone’s jaw drop. I think rookie running back Isaiah Spiller is going to come in ready to make his mark in his first game. Though Dobbins will start the game, the Ravens plan on attacking this game with a running back by committee approach. The Bills defense may key in on Dobbins more, opening up some rushing lanes for Spiller as he enters the game. Baltimore’s offensive line has only gotten stronger, adding a very talented Ryan Kelly during the offseason in a trade that saw Marcus Peters depart for Indianapolis. The stage is set for this Ravens team to become a ground and pound team that is going to control the ball. Playing the reigning champions is as big of a test as you can get.
Ja’Marr Chase has a breakout game and becomes the Bills’ most dynamic threat
This Buffalo offense is downright scary. Josh Allen has the arm talent to squeeze the ball into any window he wants to and they have likely the best wide receiver trio in the league, complemented by Dawson Knox and Tevin Coleman. Stefon Diggs was the primary target for the Bills in their Super Bowl run and they managed to bring in Tyler Lockett after contract negotiations fell through with Seattle. I think the Ravens secondary is going to focus on the veterans Diggs and Lockett, leaving an opening for the young star out of LSU. Marlon Humphrey will likely cover Stefon Diggs and William Jackson will be on Tyler Lockett, leaving Chase to play against the young Elijah Molden. He is a talented cornerback with strong potential, but will be making his first career start as the team’s nickel back. This could be a game where we see the Ravens instantly regret trading away Marcus Peters.