Bills vs. Ravens Preview
Who: Buffalo Bills (0-0) vs. Baltimore Ravens (0-0)
When: Sunday, September 9th 1:00 p.m.
Where: M&T Bank Stadium
The Bills kickoff their 2018 season with a trip to Baltimore. The Bills will look to start their season off on the right foot coming off of their first playoff appearance since 1999. The Ravens on the other hand, lost their playoff spot to the Bills with an improbable touchdown pass from Cincinnati's Andy Dalton to Tyler Boyd to win the game, a play that will live forever in Buffalo. Similar to last year, most "experts" don't expect the Bills to do very much this season. Most, including myself, have the Bills winning 6 or 7 games this year. Although the predictions were almost the same last year, this year will be different. Playing with an inexperienced quarterback and offensive line usually are not the blueprint for postseason teams. This year, without a doubt, will be a rebuilding year for the Bills.
While the Bills won't win every game they play this year, I don't expect them to lay down and take their beating either. That's not the culture coach McDermott has installed over the past year. The Bills will probably remain competitive in the vast majority of games, but will allow some games to slip away late.
The Ravens will be a tough matchup to start the year, but this game isn't a complete lock for the Ravens either. Joe Flacco will need to continue his strong play from the preseason if the Ravens hope to move the ball up and down the field against what should be a pretty decent defense for the Bills.
I'll be keeping a close eye on several players throughout the game including: Nate Peterman, LeSean McCoy, Ryan Groy, Trent Murphy, and Vontea Davis. Peterman, needs to play well enough to ensure Bills fans aren't clamoring for Josh Allen. Peterman used the preseason to improve at not staring down receivers, and will need for this to translate to the regular season to help avoid costly turnovers. McCoy, as previously stated will be the workhorse for the Bills this season, but they can't afford to run him into the ground early on. Moving onto the line, Groy won the starting Center job, but may need to move over to guard if either Ducasse or Miller can't play effectively. The interior line play may very well turn out to be a deciding factor for Buffalo.
Defensively speaking, Trent Murphy returns to action and will be on a "pitch count" as stated by coach McDermott. It'll be interesting to see how big that pitch count will be; however, I suspect it to be somewhere around 40% of the defensive snaps. And finally, Vontea Davis makes his debut, playing across from White. Davis was exposed during preseason when John Ross, blew by him for a huge touchdown. He'll need to keep the receivers in front of him, or risk giving up huge plays.
I've gone back and forth on how this game is going to go. It could go pretty good, or really really bad right from the start. Whatever ends up happening, I think there will be some boring times in the game with the Bills and Ravens trading punts for the better part of a quarter. At the end of the day, I have to give this game to the Ravens until I see how Peterman handles the spotlight and a new offense once again. Expect the Bills to remain in the game late, however.
Bills - 13 Ravens - 24