We have two games to get to on Saturday in the NFL Divisional Round. The NFL is down to the eight best teams in the league. You could make a decent argument for every team winning the Super Bowl. The easiest choice among the eight has to be the Kansas City Chiefs, but the easiest isn’t always the correct one.
Would it be a surprise to see the Ravens or Bills in the Super Bowl? Certainly not. And the Cleveland Browns have a lot of momentum right now. Who knows what will happen on Sunday if the Chiefs overlook the Browns in that game. Wilder things have happened in the NFL than a ten-point underdog winning straight up.
I’m looking forward to every game this week. However, out of them all, the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills certainly look like it’s going to be a must-watch game. I could argue either way in this game. The Ravens have a strong case to win this game, but betting against Josh Allen and the Bills is tough as well.
Lamar Jackson came on really nicely in Q4 of the regular season. He didn’t look like himself for much of the first-half, but he really started finding his groove in the final weeks of the year. The electrifying playmaker that we became familiar with finally arrived in 2020, and then it carried over into the playoffs in 2021.
Lamar didn’t have to do anything with his arm, but his 136 yards rushing and 1 touchdown on 8.5 yards per carry was the difference against the Titans. He did not have a good game throwing the ball, but was running around like we came to expect from him. When Lamar is at his best, he’s running wild on the ground.
He gained 1,005 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns on 6.3 yards per carry. Lamar came on strong late to get over the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season. In a game that could have some poor weather because of the wind, his legs are going to be a major asset tonight. Going to Buffalo and winning is never an easy chore, though.
The 13-3 Bills are a hot pick to beat the Ravens, and then win the AFC Championship and advance to the Super Bowl. I can’t argue with that, but I also can’t disagree with somebody who handicaps the Ravens to win either. This is going to be some kind of battle on Saturday night in Orchard Park. I think props are the way to go on Saturday night in this one. Head below for our free Ravens vs. Bills props on January 16, 2021 in the NFL Divisional Round.
— NFL (@NFL) January 11, 2021
Josh Allen Passing Yards
Josh Allen is a fantastic quarterback, and I thought it was a good selection when the Bills drafted him. Unlike most people, I watch Mountain West football closely, so Allen panning out like this is not a surprise. Allen passed for 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 69.2% completions this season. He threw for 4,544 yards for fifth in the NFL, and was fifth in the touchdown department as well.
Allen has deceptive speed as well, having rushed for 412 yards and 8 touchdowns on 4.1 yards per carry. Yeah, Lamar Jackson will kill Allen in a 40-yard dash, but Allen can move the chains. Allen is good, but this is going to be a tough matchup against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Ravens ranked as one of the best against the pass, with 221 yards against per game. That was good for sixth in the NFL.
Snow is not going to be a problem on Saturday night, but it could be a windy evening. The current forecast has sustained winds at 15 mph. Not unmanageable, though maybe enough to impact the passing game just enough to help out an already stingy Baltimore defense. The Ravens held Ryan Tannehill to 165 yards last week in the Wild Card Round. They embarrassed Brandon Allen for 48 yards and an interception in the regular season finale.
Note that Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes are the only quarterbacks to record more than 295 yards against the Ravens this season. That’s only two games where the secondary got turned around and had a rough game. Allen will ultimately make plays here and there for the Bills, but the Ravens should be able to prevent him from going off. The Ravens’ offense should be able to control the clock and limit Buffalo possessions. That favors the UNDER on this passing prop.
Cole Beasley Receptions
Cole Beasley has been a valuable member of the Bills’ offense, especially down the stretch. He’s not going to be talked about much in the media, but Beasley is sort of an x-factor that can be a sneaky receiver with the potential for a big game. The Ravens can’t ignore Beasley or he can do damage in a hurry if he finds a rhythm. Beasley quietly accumulated 967 yards and 4 touchdowns on 11.8 yards per reception.
He was a favorite of Josh Allen’s out of the slot and collected plenty of receptions, too. Allen caught 82 receptions for an average of 5.1 receptions per game. Beasley caught 6.4 receptions a game through the last five games, including 7 and 57 yards against the Colts last week. At nearly even money, you have to like Beasley to go OVER 4.5 receptions on Saturday night.
Lamar Jackson Rushing Yards
Lamar Jackson has been playing like he has something to prove recently. Since leading the Ravens to a 34-17 win against the Dallas Cowboys on December 8 in his return from Covid-19, Jackson has been looking up following a slow start to the season. He doesn’t pass for a whole lot of yards, but when Lamar is running like he is at the moment, then that’s not going to be needed. Jackson has rushed for 566 yards for 94.3 yards per game, and scored five times on the ground.
He saved his best effort for the playoffs against the Tennessee Titans. Jackson gained 136 yards and a touchdown on 8.5 yards per carry. In a game on Saturday night that could have some gusty winds, the Ravens will stick to what they know best. The Bills were a bit below average against the run, with 119.6 yards conceded per game. It’s hard to bet against Lamar right now. I don’t know who wins the game, but he should get his against the Bills.