Buffalo Bills vs Ravens: Divisional Round playoff preview, predictions

Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills shakes hands with Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills shakes hands with Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Bills
amar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens evades Lorenzo Alexander #57 of the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

Can the Buffalo Bills contain the Baltimore Ravens’ run game?

As for the ground game, the Ravens have a serious edge, one sharp enough to kick the Bills out of the playoffs.

Jackson’s ever-present threat to house it on any given play is well-known, but what the Ravens’ offensive line has accomplished this season is extraordinary. After losing Marshal Yanda to retirement before the season and Ronnie Stanley to a broken ankle in Week 8, the unit has somehow maintained its status as road-graders, as Orlando Brown Jr., Bradley Bozeman and crew have made the unenviable task of blocking for a live-wire of a quarterback look easy.

And it’s not just Jackson toting the rock for the Ravens. The two-headed monster of Gus Edwards and rookie J.K. Dobbins has been extremely successful this year, as Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman seems to know just when to switch out one for the other. This platooning has kept them both fresh for the playoff run. The Ravens are also unafraid of using their fullback in 2021, as the 311-pound Patrick Ricard is ready, willing and able to meet any linebacker in the hole.

As for the Bills, their rushing attack took a hit with the loss of the aforementioned Moss. He carried the ball seven times against the Colts for 21 yards. Devin Singletary was only given three carries last Saturday, as there was minimal room to run against the Colts’ stout run defence. The Bills won’t see much friendlier boxes against the Ravens, as they rank eighth league-wide against the run.

To replace Moss’ production, the Bills signed former Falcons running back and two-time Pro Bowler Devonta Freeman. The seven-year veteran last played for the Giants in Week 7. Fans have been pining for Antonio Williams to see some snaps after he flashed in the season finale against the Dolphins, however he has not been added to the roster.

The pièce de résistance for the Bills’ ground game comes in the form of their quarterback. While he doesn’t possess the straight-line speed of Jackson, Allen was the Bills’ rushing game against the Colts. The hits that we became all too accustomed to seeing him take early in his career returned against Indy, but he was able to absorb the contact and not turn the ball over.

With how Buffalo’s backfield has been trending, Allen will need to give a similar performance against a Ravens defence that will be frothing at the mouth to deliver a hit-stick or two.