Here are predictions from members of The Buffalo News' sports staff on Sunday's Bills-Ravens season opener:
Nathan Peterman might have been steady enough to beat an unsteady rookie for the Bills' starting quarterback job. Getting the better of a Ravens defense that's bound to generate a great deal of pressure against a rebuilt offensive line looks to be asking too much. That figures to put added pressure on a defense that should have its hands more than full against Joe Flacco and the rest of the Ravens' offense. Ravens 24, Bills 17.
It's hard to find an area in this game where the Bills have an edge. Even though Joe Flacco might not be "elite," he gives the Ravens the best quarterback on the field Sunday. The Bills' offensive line, which was under siege in the preseason, will have its hands full blocking Terrell Suggs and Co. This game feels like it could be a carbon copy of the 2016 season opener, when the Bills went to the Charm City and could barely move the ball. I like the Ravens in a low-scoring game. Ravens 23, Bills 13.
Maybe I'm giving Brian Daboll too much credit, but I think he benefits from a "surprise" element in that the Ravens don't have a clear book on him in Week 1. We get an immediate look on how stout Bills defense is vs. run-oriented Ravens offense. Bet the under. Ravens 19, Bills 16.
Nathan Peterman is making his third career start, on the road, behind a suspect offensive line, against a defense that remains among the best in the NFL. The Ravens allowed the sixth-fewest points per game and led the league with 34 takeaways last season. There's a chance this doesn't end well. Ravens 23, Bills 16
Uncertainty surrounds the Bills as they open the season at Baltimore. There's probably more uncertainty around the Bills than around other teams, as quarterback Nathan Peterman hasn't proven himself as a capable starting quarterback, and the offensive line is also unproven. The Ravens wield one of the NFL's top quarterbacks in Joe Flacco, but he has to work with a new group of receivers, so offensive production could be at a premium for either team. Expect Baltimore's defense to dictate this game; the Ravens return all of their defensive starters from a team that regularly contends for the AFC North championships. Ravens 27, Bills 13.
The Ravens are a popular pick to have a turnaround season, but in a different direction than Buffalo. Baltimore will probably replace Buffalo as a playoff team. The Ravens rebuilt their wide receiving corps while Buffalo's is filled with question marks. Joe Flacco will try and air it out early and often against a talented Bills secondary. He'll have enough success that, when combined with Baltimore's tough defense, will lead to a Week 1 Bills loss. Ravens 23, Bills 13.