The Ravens beat the Titans last Sunday to advance to the divisional round where they’ll travel to Buffalo to face Josh Allen and the Bills. Just like the Titans game, it’ll be a tough, but winnable game for the Ravens. These are the 5 key matchups the Ravens must win if they want to advance to the AFC Championship.
Lamar Jackson vs Josh Allen
The game is headlined by the matchup between Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen and for good reason. Both Allen and Jackson were drafted in 2018 and despite doubters, have risen to become two of the league’s best quarterbacks. Lamar doesn’t have to outplay Allen statistically, but he must be the better quarterback. Again, this doesn’t mean Lamar has to throw for 300 yards and rush for another 100. It means making the better decisions, being the better game manager and being smart with the ball.
Wink Martindale vs Josh Allen
Josh Allen played like an MVP in 2020, so the Ravens defense will have their hands full with trying to contain him. Allen’s success against the blitz poses problems for Ravens’ defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s blitz heavy scheme. In 2020, against the blitz, Allen threw for 1,850 yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 “big time” throws. When the Ravens last faced the Bills, Allen struggled against the blitz. The question is, will Allen be able to adapt or will Martindale’s creative blitz packages be too much for Allen to handle again.
Ravens Secondary vs Bills Wideouts
Stefon Diggs has emerged as one of the league’s best receivers in his first year in Buffalo. The Ravens can’t afford to get gashed by the Allen-Diggs duo, but with Cole Beasley and former Raven John Brown, the Ravens secondary will need to have a strong performance. Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith and Anthony Averrett will need to contain the Bills’ wide receivers so we don’t get burned by Allen.
Dobbins, Edwards + Jackson vs Bills defense
Last week vs the Colts, the Bills run defense gave up 163 yards on the ground. Although the Ravens surpassed 200+ yards rushing, the run game wasn’t super impressive besides Lamar Jackson. The RBs, JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, must take the pressure off Lamar and the passing game, who’ll be going against a talented secondary.
Ravens Tight Ends vs Bills defense
Last week, Phillip Rivers used the tight ends to shred Buffalo’s defense all game. Colts TEs accounted for 104 yards and 1 touchdown last weekend. In their 2019 matchup, former Raven Hayden Hurst caught a 61 yard touchdown. With Mark Andrews, Lamar’s go-to-target and FB/TE Patrick Ricard, Lamar Jackson should look to exploit their defense’s weak spot.
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