- The 2.5 points spread for the Buffalo Bills vs Baltimore Ravens playoff game this weekend is the closes among all divisional round matchups.
- The Bills are also just -146 betting favorites at the moneyline market.
- Lamar Jackson is coming off his first playoff win, doing so in spectacular fashion. But the Ravens have not played a QB like Josh Allen since losing to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 3.
The Baltimore Ravens head to Buffalo to take on the Bills in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. For the second straight week, Baltimore has the hottest matchup in the odds boards.
Last week, the Ravens were 3.5 point betting favorites against the Tennessee Titans and they covered the spread with a 20-13 win. This weekend, Baltimore travels to Buffalo as the 2.5 point betting underdogs. That represents the closest spread among all the divisional matchups both in the AFC and NFC conferences. Buffalo is also just a -146 favorite at the moneyline with Baltimore coming back at +126 at Sportsbetting.ag.
The Ravens have covered 10 out of their last 11 games as the betting underdog but the Bills are also an impressive 8-1 ATS in their last nine games. But something has to give here.
Will the Ravens Blitz Allen?
Josh Allen vs. blitz
💥 19 TDs (1st)
💥 1,850 yards (1st)
Ravens blitz at highest rate in NFL 👀 pic.twitter.com/opuXkUckjL
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) January 12, 2021
Perhaps the most interesting question heading to this AFC divisional game is whether the Baltimore Ravens defense will blitz the Bills with Josh Allen playing behind center. The reason behind the query is the fact that Baltimore blitzed its opponents more times than any other team in the NFL this season. The Ravens’ 41%blitz rate was the highest in the league in 2020.
That could be a problem this weekend though because Buffalo’s Josh Allen was among the best QBs in handling the pressure this season. Allen led the league with 19 TDs and 1,850 passing yards against the blitz defense in 2020. At 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds, Allen has the uncanny ability to shake off pass-rushers and beat opposing defenses with his deep downfield passes.
Allen was named to his first Pro Bowl this season after becoming the first NFL quarterback to throw for 4,500 yards with 35 passing touchdowns and 5 rushing touchdowns during a single NFL season. He finished the regular season with 4,544 passing yards with 37 touchdowns and a QB rating of 107.2.
However, Allen had one of the worst games of his NFL career when he faced the Ravens’ defense in December 2019, when Buffalo lost to Baltimore 24-17. He was held to the second-lowest completion rate of his career (43.6%) on 17-39 passing and was sacked six times.
Erasing The Doubts
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 10, 2021
One of the most popular narratives heading to the 2020 NFL season was Lamar Jackson’s inability to win a playoff game. Jackson became only the second unanimous MVP in 2019 and last season, the Ravens became the AFC’s top seed for the first time in franchise history. However, Jackson entered the current postseason with a 0-2 playoff record and a passer rating of 68.3%. He had thrown as many TDs and interceptions in two playoff losses but erased all doubts last week.
Not only did he get his first playoff win, Jackson also avenged last year’s divisional round loss to the Tennessee Titans. In doing so, Lamar was electric last weekend. He amassed more rushing yards than Derrick Henry and outdueled Ryan Tannehill in passing yards as well. He finished the game with 179 passing yards and 136 rushing yards including a 48-yard rushing touchdown which stands as the second longest QB TD Run in the history of the NFL playoffs.
Among the 12 playoff teams, Buffalo allowed the third most rushing yards in the opening round of the playoffs with 163. During the regular season, Buffalo ranked in the bottom half in the league in rushing defense, allowing 119.6 rushing yards per game. That could fall to the strength of Lamar and the Ravens who led the league in rushing with an average of 191.6 yards per game.
But then again, Allen could do damage on the ground like Lamar and he has better passing weapons like Diggs and Beasley who are playing well right now and who could tear up the Ravens’ defense. This could be a coin-flip and could go down to the final possession. We can go on and you can make argument for both sides.