The Buffalo Bills held off the Indianapolis Colts, 27-24, as Josh Allen threw for 324 yards (with 128 of those yards going to Stefon Diggs). The Colts, despite coming in with the seventh seed, showed why they are a difficult team to stop. They rank in the top ten in the NFL on offense, defense and special teams, and the running of Jonathan Taylor kept Colt drives going, and it also took into the second half for the Bills to solve that Colt defense. Jazz Sports offers a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1000)
Next up is a visit from the Baltimore Ravens, who fell behind the Tennessee Titans in the first quarter of their wild card matchup but came back to win, 2-13. Lamar Jackson threw for 179 yards and ran for 136 more, including a 48-yard touchdown scamper, and the Ravens’ defense physically shut down Derrick Henry.
Can the Bills knock off a Ravens team that looks highly motivated? We have your divisional playoff preview right here.
NFC Divisional Playoff (January 16)
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
When: Saturday, January 16, 2021, 8:15 pm ET
Where: Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
Radio: Westwood One
JAZZ Sports Odds: Bills -2.5 / Total 50 *
Why the Ravens Will Win
The Ravens’ defense has been ironclad for most of the season. They permitted 34 touchdowns from scrimmage in 2020, second fewest in the NFL, behind the L.A. Rams, who permitted just 29. Now they will have to turn that defensive focus away from stopping a dominant running back to stopping a solid passing game. Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey had a tough time with Tennessee wideout A.J. Brown in the wild card game, and safeties Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott will be much busier having to help out on passes down the field.
The offense featured balance – but the Ravens may need more out of J.K. Dobbins, as Jackson ran for 136 of the team’s 236 yards. The Ravens lead the NFL in rushing this season, and if Jackson can feature a similar completion percentage this week (he went 17 of 24 against Tennessee), the team should be able to sustain drives. Jackson did have an interception that helped the Titans get their only touchdown a week ago, so ball security will continue to be important, as the Bills are likely to load the box and make the Ravens beat them with the passing game.
Why the Bills Will Win
The Buffalo defense was average this year against both the run (17th) and the pass (13th). However, their pass rush was solid, as they picked up 38 sacks on the season. Their defense started out solid, as the team began 4-0, and then it struggled against Kansas City and Tennessee. However, down the stretch, the defense has gotten increasingly opportunistic.
It’s the offense that has Bills fans excited about a possible run to the Super Bowl this season. The chemistry that Allen and Diggs have built this season has led to huge numbers, as Diggs is tops in the NFL in catches (127) and receiving yards (1,535), and he had eight touchdown receptions. If Diggs is covered by Marlon Humphrey, he could have a huge day – and if he gets blanketed, the Bills also have Cole Beasley and John Brown as wideout options.
The Final Word
I have enjoyed watching the Bills all season long, but they will have the street fight of their season this year as Baltimore will bring the physicality all game long. I think Buffalo has the toughness to match the Ravens, and I see Buffalo winning the game on a late scoring drive.
*Odds are subject to change.