coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/23/2013 05:00 PM in NFL

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills: Preview and Pick

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills: Preview and Pick

The Baltimore Ravens are defending Super Bowl champs and last week against the Houston Texans they looked like it. They celebrated Ray Lewis and the return of Ed Reed with a big win. Now they have to try and carry that momentum to Buffalo when they take on the young and upcoming Buffalo Bills.

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Ravens listed as (-3.5) point road chalk. This is due to a combination of the Ravens impressive win and the Bills awful loss. Like clockwork, the public is pounding the Ravens to the tune of 69 percent. Although the line has yet to move, make sure to check out the top rated online sportsbooks for a line move.

If the Bills hope to make this game they will need plenty of things to work out for them. First super star running back C.J. Spiller was taken out of the game with ta thigh injury, but he looks as though he will be ready to play in this game. They will also need to protect young rookie quarterback EJ Manuel much better. After allowing just two sacks in the first two weeks, the Bills front line collapsed giving up an amazing eight sacks to the Jets defense.

The Ravens will be aggressive on defense and will hope to have the services of defensive tackle Terrence Cody who left the game with a sprained knee and did not return. The Ravens also hope to have the services of legendary running back Ray Rice when they head north for this contest. When healthy, the Ravens are one of the better teams in the league, but they must avoid the letdown when they go up against the Bills this week. Although the Bills have lost on more than one occasion they fight to the end.

The latest NFL betting trends reveal some very interesting angles for this game leading up to kickoff. The total has gone under in 4 of Baltimore's last 5 games when playing Buffalo but the total has gone over in 4 of Baltimore's last 6 games on the road. The Buffalo Bills are 4-8 straight up in its last 12 games when playing Baltimore and the Ravens are 6-3 straight up in the last nine games on the NFL highway. The Bills are a very good home team, but will have a tough time matching up with the Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/24/2013 02:45 PM

The reality of playing with a rookie quarterback is hitting C.J. Spiller like a charging linebacker.

The Buffalo Bills running back missed the second half of Sunday's 27-20 loss to the New York Jets because of a knee injury, but he was confident Monday about playing this weekend, per The Buffalo News.

What bothered Spiller was the defensive fronts he's been facing this season.

"They pretty much put a lot of people in the box and dared our passing game to beat them," Spiller said, suggesting things won't get easier until EJ Manuel consistently connects on downfield throws, per The News.

Last season, Spiller averaged 6 yards per carry. This season, against stacked boxes, he's averaging just 3.6 yards per rush. On Sunday, he had 10 carries for 9 yards before exiting. After watching film, Spiller said it was "one of those games where I could have got like, one or two yards."

Manuel has struggled through three weeks with his accuracy on deep passes. Week 3 underscored those difficulties as the Jets suffocated the run and dared Manuel to beat their secondary.

The always optimistic Spiller said he has "confidence" that the rookie quarterback is progressing but, until Manuel makes defenses pay with deep passes, defenses will continue to stack the box.

"I mean, that's gonna be the model," Spiller said. "If I'm a defensive coordinator, that'd be my biggest thing too, is to stop our run and pretty much make our rookie quarterback beat us."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/25/2013 03:57 PM

Former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron tailored the offense to Flacco’s powerful right arm and Jim Caldwell kept plenty of deep balls on his play card after he replaced Cameron last December. So far this season, though, Flacco hasn’t been clicking with his outside receivers, particularly Torrey Smith, as often.

Flacco has completed just three of his 17 attempts beyond 20 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. But the conversation might be a little different had the wide receivers helped their quarterback out by hanging onto accurate passes. In the past two weeks, Smith has bobbled two catchable passes, including one in the end zone against the Cleveland Browns. Marlon Brown also dropped a would-be touchdown in Week 2.

I’m sure they would pass on admitting it publicly, but Flacco and company have to be feeling pretty confident that they will be able to connect in the deep passing game Sunday.

The Buffalo Bills are banged up in the secondary. Free safety Jairus Byrd, who is their franchise player, has been sidelined with a foot injury. Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Ron Brooks also sat out their game last Sunday against the New York Jets. And with those guys out, the Bills allowed the Jets to complete a couple of deep balls down the sidelines.

Third-year cornerback Justin Rogers got the start against the Jets and rookie quarterback Geno Smith put up huge numbers attacking him. Rogers, who was a seventh-round pick, was targeted eight times, according to Pro Football Focus. He allowed six of those passes to be completed for 247 yards and two touchdowns. That was 30.9 yards per reception.

On the first touchdown pass he allowed, Rogers let Stephen Hill get a clean outside release and he couldn’t keep up with him down the right sideline. His safety help came too late and Hill ran into the end zone for an easy 51-yard score.

In the fourth quarter, Santonio Holmes beat him for what would turn out to be the game-winning touchdown. Rogers was left on an island with Holmes, but didn’t get his head around to defend the deep ball and slipped after Holmes made the catch. Holmes ran it in for a 69-yard touchdown.

If Rogers couldn’t hang with Holmes, he probably won't stand much of a chance against Smith, who is one of the fastest wide receivers in the NFL. The Bills may make more of a concerted effort to shade a safety over to help Rogers after his struggles against the Jets, but the Ravens will likely still get opportunities to drop some bombs down the field.

Similar opportunities in the first three weeks haven't been as fruitful, but if Smith and his fellow wide-outs can hang onto the ball -- in bounds, that is -- Flacco could have a big game

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/26/2013 01:18 PM

Whether it's handling opposing pass rushers on the field, and questions off it, Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is suddenly having a hard time escaping the blitz.Since spending much of last weekend flat on his back, Manuel was back on his feet Wednesday, feeling better prepared in facing pressure after spending the past two days working on it in practice.

The extra work became necessary in light of Manuel's struggles in a 27-20 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday. When he wasn't being sacked eight times, Manuel was sailing desperation passes out of bounds."Yeah, I'm a lot more prepared," Manuel said. "I learned a lot from that game and the mistakes I made."The Bills' defense went after him in practice Wednesday. And Manuel spent part of his day off Tuesday working on his own in making quick, precise throws downfield.

The only thing missing was a 250-pound linebacker in his face."No, we didn't have that," Manuel said with a laugh. "We couldn't simulate that one. But it was the best we could."Manuel is going to have to do much better with the Bills (1-2) preparing to face another attacking style defense on Sunday, when they host the Baltimore Ravens (2-1).

Against the Jets, Manuel at times looked rattled in completing 19 of 42 attempts for 243 yards and a touchdown. And he was particularly bad in third- or fourth-down situations.Though he hit tight end Scott Chandler for a 33-yard touchdown pass on third-and-6, Manuel was otherwise dreadful. On third or fourth down, he went 3 of 14 for 55 yards passing and was sacked twice."I felt like I should've been more composed," Manuel said. "When they're bringing the house at you, it's a tough thing to deal with. But nonetheless, you have to deal with it. It's just a part of maturing in the position."

Until that happens, he understands opposing defenses are going to take the same approach against him."I'm sure a lot more teams are going to try to amp it up a little bit, too," he said. "So I think the biggest thing is showing that you can handle it, and that's when they'll stop doing the blitzes."

Manuel's struggles came a week after he showed signs of his potential by rallying the Bills to a last-second 24-23 win over Carolina.In taking a big step back against the Jets, Manuel showed the tell-tale signs of inconsistency encountered by most NFL rookies. And that's raised concerns among Bills players as to how long it might take Manuel to find his footing against the blitz.

"It's hard to say," center Eric Wood said. "I think he'll rebound, though. Just working with him for the past few months, I think every time a challenge is presented, he's kind of stepped up."Running back C.J. Spiller offered a mixed response Wednesday.He credited Manuel for having poise, but also added: "We just have to do a better job of just calming him down."

Not all of the blame should land on Manuel, because the Bills are experiencing difficulty maintaining drives whether they're running or passing.Buffalo has converted just 14 of 45 third down chances. And more often than not, that's been the result of having difficulty gaining yards on first and second down.

Manuel's inconsistencies have come as no surprise to Jim Kelly, the Bills Hall of Fame quarterback."He's getting there. He's had some tough days, but what rookie hasn't?" Kelly said."We all hope he'll turn out to be the quarterback we've been praying for," Kelly added. "Great kid. Great work ethic. Time will only tell. But I'm one guy who is pulling for EJ Manuel."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/27/2013 12:33 PM

After the Buffalo Bills' offense struggled in their most recent contest, maybe the last thing they need is to face a Baltimore Ravens defense that has been dominant since a rough season opener.

The visiting Ravens look to hold an opponent without a touchdown in three straight games for the first time in franchise history Sunday against the banged-up Bills.

Baltimore (2-1) has bounced back nicely from its forgettable 49-27 season-opening loss at Denver. The Ravens allowed 510 yards and seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning in that game, but have yielded only five field goals and 523 yards in home victories over Cleveland and Houston.

"In the NFL you're going to have highs and lows," said linebacker Terrell Suggs, who has a team-high three of Baltimore's 11 sacks. "(The Broncos were) the first game. They had some success. We knew we had to go to work."

Baltimore put that work to good use during last Sunday's 30-9 rout of a Texans team which totaled 61 points in its first two games. Linebacker Daryl Smith scored on a 37-yard return of an interception off Matt Schaub, who was held to 194 yards, and the Ravens limited Houston to a season-low 94 yards rushing.

"They've played two weeks now where they haven't given up a touchdown," said quarterback Joe Flacco, who has thrown one TD but no interceptions in the last two games. "That's pretty good. You're going to have a tough time losing when that happens."

Facing Baltimore's defense presents a daunting challenge for the Bills (1-2), who lost 27-20 at New York last weekend despite the Jets being flagged 20 times for 168 yards. Buffalo became the first team since the Chicago Bears in 1951 to lose when its opponent was penalized 20 or more times.

That's partially because the Bills went 4 of 18 converting third downs, managed three field goals on three trips inside the Jets 20 and allowed eight sacks after giving up one over the previous two weeks against Carolina and New England.

"Some of the mistakes we made were terrible, myself included," center Eric Wood said. "We obviously have to bounce back, but that was a game we kind of threw away."

Buffalo expects to have C.J. Spiller available after a quad injury limited him to nine yards on 10 carries against the Jets. Fred Jackson tried to pick up the slack, rushing seven times for 72 yards and catching four passes for 37.

Rookie EJ Manuel went 19 of 42 for 243 yards with a touchdown, struggling with his accuracy and ability to handle the blitz.

"We want to make sure we're giving our players an opportunity to make those plays," said coach Doug Marrone, whose team's three games have been decided by 10 points. "Am I disappointed? Absolutely. I can tell you this, EJ Manuel is disappointed too. I think those are the things that we'll work on to correct."

Things are equally concerning on the other side of the ball after the Bills yielded 513 yards, including 182 on the ground, at New York. Buffalo ranks second-to-last in the league in run defense, giving up 155.0 yards per game.

Already without injured cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (wrist) and Ron Brooks (foot) and Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd (foot), Buffalo lost defensive end Alex Carrington to a season-ending quad injury last weekend and could be minus defensive back Leodis McKelvin due to a hamstring injury.

Ankle injuries are not expected to keep defensive linemen Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus from playing.

Having both in the lineup would help if Baltimore's Ray Rice returns after missing his first game since 2008 with a hip injury.

"We have a chance to get Ray back," coach John Harbaugh told the Ravens' official website.

Though Rice has rushed for 36 yards in each of his two games this season, he might provide a boost for a running game that ranks 31st at 2.6 per carry.

Rice's backup, Bernard Pierce, has averaged 2.8 yards on 58 attempts but has a TD in each of the last two weeks.

Jackson outgained Rice 73-72 on the ground in these teams' last meeting, but Flacco threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in Baltimore's 37-34 overtime win in 2010.

Buffalo's Stevie Johnson, who has 14 receptions for 197 yards over the last two games, caught eight passes for 158 yards and a TD in that meeting.

The Ravens lost 19-14 in their only previous trip to Buffalo in 2007.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/28/2013 11:08 AM

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

Rice was limited in practice all week after sitting out his first game since 2008. He is dealing with a hip flexor strain.

Defensive lineman Chris Canty is the only other starter whose availability is uncertain. He is also questionable with a groin injury.

Wide receiver Marlon Brown, who has filled in for Jacoby Jones (knee), is probable with a neck injury. He had full practices after missing Wednesday's workout.

The only additions to the injury report was wide receiver Brandon Stokley (groin), who is questionable after being limited in Friday's practice.

For the Bills, cornerback Stephon Gilmore (wrist) is out and the other starting corner, Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) is questionable. Free safety Jairus Byrd (foot) is also questionable.

Here's the Ravens' complete injury report:

Out: WR Jacoby Jones (knee).

Doubtful: DT Terrence Cody (knee) and C Ryan Jensen (foot).

Questionable: RB Ray Rice (hip), DE Chris Canty (groin), WR Brandon Stokley (groin), LB Arthur Brown (chest), WR Deonte Thompson (foot), DT Brandon Williams (toe), RB Shaun Draughn (ankle) and LB Pernell McPhee (knee).

Probable: WR Marlon Brown (neck).

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/28/2013 11:09 AM

The following is the Buffalo Bills' injury report for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens:

CB Stephon Gilmore (wrist)
K Dustin Hopkins (right groin)
CB Ron Brooks (foot)
WR Marquise Goodwin (hand)

S Jairus Byrd (foot)
CB Leodis McKelvin (hamstring)

DE Mario Williams (ankle)
DT Kyle Williams (Achilles)
DT Marcell Dareus (ankle)
OL Kraig Urbik (knee)
RB C.J. Spiller (quad)
WR Steve Johnson (hamstring)
OL Doug Legursky (knee)

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/29/2013 08:21 AM

Pick: Bills +3

The Ravens beat the Texans, but they needed a TD on defense and special teams that they will not get against the Bills. The Ravens are on upset alert.