After a long offseason, the time has finally come to reopen football at M&T Bank Stadium. The Baltimore Ravens will open the season against the Buffalo Bills. The matchup gives the Ravens a chance to start the year strong. Although the Buffalo Bills are coming off of a postseason appearance, the Ravens are the heavy favorites. This is because Buffalo regressed in the offseason, and Baltimore improved. Buffalo, in a move of infinite wisdom, discarded the quarterback that led the team to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Buffalo then drafted Josh Allen to replace Tyrod Taylor, the former Raven. However, the Bills will not give him the start against Baltimore. That responsibility will fall on Nathan Peterman, who in his first NFL start, threw five interceptions. The Ravens must take advantage of this opportunity to start the year strong. There are three keys for this to happen:
Pressure to Peterman
The Baltimore Ravens need to put tremendous pressure on Nathan Peterman. Peterman was not likely to be the starting quarterback, but after trading AJ McCarron to the Bills, Buffalo felt it had no choice but to start him over Josh Allen. Peterman, to put it bluntly, Nathan Peterman is a bad quarterback, and Buffalo will need to make a change eventually at the position. In order for the Ravens to take advantage of Peterman, the defense needs to apply pressure. Peterman will make mistakes on his own, but if Baltimore effectively blitzes him and keeps him on edge, he will turn the ball over. When he does, Baltimore will be able to take advantage of the situation on offense.
Flacco’s Elite Return
During the past two years, Joe Flacco has greatly struggled as a quarterback. While his level of play was below acceptable, it is unfair to pin all blame on Flacco. A combination of bad coordinators, injuries, and shallow receiving corps produced a Joe Flacco that is unlike what Ravens fans had come to know. Now, Flacco is healthy, entering his third year with Marty Mornhinweg, and has a new trio of wide receiver weapons, ready to be unleashed on opponents. In order to defeat the Bills, Joe Flacco must come out of the gate quickly. Flacco is the leader of the offense, and while the defense is set to create opportunities, the offense must take advantage of them. The stage is set for Flacco to reclaim his spot amongst the NFL’s best quarterbacks. He will need to start that journey this Sunday, against the Buffalo Bills.
Ravens Secondary Depth
The Baltimore Ravens will be missing Jimmy Smith for the first four games of the regular season. While it is necessary for the Ravens to provide depth for all four games, the team must prove that it has the capacity to replace Smith for the first games. While Buffalo does not possess the most high powered offense, the team does have a few weapons that Peterman will target through the air. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and tight end Charles Clay are among the better players in the league at their respective positions. It is crucial that the Ravens lock up both players, and prevent either of them from dominating the field. The defense must accomplish this without Jimmy Smith.
The Baltimore Ravens will defeat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday by a score of 27-10. The Ravens will route Buffalo by accomplishing the three tasks mentioned above. The defense will pressure Nathan Peterman and create turnovers, the offense led by Joe Flacco will take advantage of the turnovers and score. The secondary will also be able to shut down Kelvin Benjamin and Charles Clay. With all three of these scenarios playing out, the Ravens will be able to easily defeat the Bills, claiming the first victory of the season in the first week.