The Buffalo Bills enter week four getting set to play the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, but the task doesn’t seem nearly as daunting as it would have been last year. The Ravens endured an eventful offseason, losing plenty of starters on defense and now find themselves without too many options in the passing game.
The Ravens are beatable. But, how will that happen for Buffalo? Let’s take a look.
Baltimore boasts a pretty weak pass defense, ranking 20th in the league overall and allowing 231 passing yards per game. This bodes well for rookie E.J. Manuel who currently leads an offense ranked 25th in the passing game.
Where the Bills could really win the game, though, is not through the passing game. Buffalo is 5th in the league right now when it comes to running the ball. The Bills have managed to average 135 yards on the ground through three games, and haven’t done it one the shoulders of one stud running back.
Buffalo has a huge luxury. They can hand the ball off to their budding star running back C.J. Spiller — who says he will play Sunday — or they can let Spiller rest every once and a while and split some of his carries with Fred Jackson. Both Spiller and Jackson are legitimate backs in this league and Buffalo gets to call them theirs.
Between Jackson and Spiller, they have ran for over 320 yards on the year. But it doesn’t stop there. Manuel has also contributed a solid 25.3 yards per game on the ground. Having that luxury and extra dynamic to their offense should give them quite the advantage come Sunday.
The tough thing will be to get through that stingy Baltimore run defense that ranks 4th in the NFL right now and only allows 77 yards per game. For Buffalo, if they can get it going through the air a bit, it might open up some things for the backs in the run game. I know, it sounds odd doesn’t it? Typically, teams want to establish a run to open up the pass. But, because of Baltimore’s barely-mediocre pass defense, the Bills should be able to take advantage right away.
Above all else, Buffalo absolutely must run the ball well. If the Ravens make Manuel and the offense one-dimensional, eventually they will force some mistakes and wind up winning the battle. But, if the Bills can grind out a decent total on the ground they will have a very good chance at winning this game.