2020 NFL Divisional Playoff preview: Ravens vs Bills

The divisional playoffs roll on as the Buffalo Bills host the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night. The last time these two teams faced off was Week 14 of last year, where league MVP Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to a 24-17 win at Buffalo. This is the first time the two teams have squared off in the postseason and the 10th all-time meeting between the two teams (Ravens lead 6-3).

Coming into last week’s game at Tennessee, the pressure was on Jackson to win his first playoff game after losing his first two in 2018 and 2019, including a 28-12 loss to the Titans last year. After falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter with an ugly interception, Jackson took control of the game. He ran for a 48-yard touchdown in the second quarter and from there, Jackson imposed his will. Jackson finished with 315 total yards, including 136 on the ground, as he finally picked up his first postseason win.

In the 20-13 win, the Ravens’ defense was also impressive, holding the Titans to 209 total yards and three points after the first quarter. 2020 NFL rushing champion, Derrick Henry, was held to just 40 yards on 18 carries. The Ravens come into Saturday’s game on a six-game winning streak and look to make their first AFC Championship game since 2012 when they won Super Bowl XLVII.

They will face a Bills team also on a big winning streak as they are winners of their last seven games. The Bills took on the Indianapolis Colts last week with 6,700 fans in attendance and won 27-24, despite losing many matchups statistically.

The Colts out-gained the Bills 472-397, out-rushed them 163-96, won the time of possession battle 34:17-25:43 and lost the third-down battle as the Colts converted 9/17 compared to 2/9 for the Bills. This was the first time in NFL postseason history a team lost despite gaining 450+ yards with no turnovers. While the Colts will rue their missed chances in the red zone, Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs put on a show offensively, making the necessary plays to give the Bills the win. Allen finished with 378 total yards and three touchdowns, while Diggs caught six passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.

This will be a battle of strengths. The Bills excel at passing the ball down the field with a bend but don’t break defense, while the Ravens’ defense has developed into a shut-down unit to support their rush-heavy offense.

The Ravens are the NFL’s top rushing offense, meaning it is obvious what the Ravens’ gameplan will consist of — running the ball to gash the Bills’ defense. The Bills’ 17th-ranked rush defense will have a tough time stopping the Ravens’ lethal rushing attack, forcing Allen and the Bills’ offense to keep pace in windy conditions. The Bills will not be able to keep up as Jackson and Ravens will control the clock and the Ravens’ defense will prevent Allen from finding a rhythm. The Ravens will take the victory.

Prediction: Ravens 27 – Bills 17

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