Who Has the Edge? Previewing Ravens vs. Bills
Ravens Defense vs. Bills Offense
While the Bills have a nice combination of youth and explosiveness on their offense, the Ravens should have a rejuvenated pass rush and a much improved secondary.
Jimmy Smith on Sammy Watkins will be the marquee match up of the night, as they are two ascending talents who are among the best at their positions. Smith should be healed from his foot injury, while Watkins may not be fully recovered from his. Watkins is like Randy Moss, as defensive coordinator Dean Pees referred to. He’s a threat to take it all the way on every single play.
Buffalo doesn’t really have many receivers other than Watkins however. Robert Woods is more of a number three guy rather than a compliment to Watkins. The real threats on the offense are tight end Charles Clay and running back LeSean McCoy.
Clay is a menace on seam routes and is a pretty good blocker in the run game as well. Shady McCoy is a fantastic back, especially in open space. He’s explosive and can break off big runs if left with even the smallest of lanes.
The Bills’ most versatile weapon is former Raven quarterback Tyrod Taylor. He’s extremely athletic and has an incredibly accurate deep ball, which he has honed over the years when he was behind Joe Flacco. He’s not just a great deep passer, as Taylor was second in the league in rushing yards by a QB last season (only trailing the MVP Cam Newton), and he didn’t even play all 16 games.
The Ravens have two new safeties in perennial Pro-Bowler Eric Weddle and converted cornerback Lardarius Webb. They look to shut down the deep ball and help out the corners in coverage. While they aren’t the biggest safeties, they are very good tacklers and should have no problems in the run game.
Buffalo has a pretty stout offensive line, with Pro-Bowler Eric Wood at center, stud Cordy Glenn at left tackle, and a rejuvenated Richie Incognito at guard. Buffalo led the league in rushing yards and rushing yards per carry.
However, don’t expect them to open up giant holes in the run game often, as defensive tackle Brandon Williams might have something to say about that.
Williams is the Ravens’ best kept secret, the best nose tackle in the league right now. He will have a great battle with center Eric Wood, but Williams is fresh and ready to stuff the run. McCoy shouldn’t have much room to run throughout the day.
The Ravens defense has so much unknown on it, but doesn’t lack in talent. It will be difficult to contain Watkins and McCoy, but they should have success since they know Tyrod Taylor so well. As of right now, the two units seem pretty evenly matched.
Next: Special Teams