The Buffalo Bills will host the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday in an AFC divisional playoff game at Bills Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 on NBC. The Bills opened as a 2.5-point favorite.
Here are five things to know about the Ravens, who advanced with a 20-13 win Sunday against the Tennessee Titans:
Running Ravens: The Ravens, who were 11-15 in the regular season, have 1,573 rushing yards in their last six games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that is the most in a six-game span, including the playoffs, since the 1949 Eagles, ran for 1,600. The Eagles won the NFL championship that season. The Ravens’ total includes 236 yards on 35 carries against the Titans in Sunday’s wild-card game, a whopping 6.7 yards per carry. The Ravens led the NFL in rushing during the regular season at 191.9 yards per game and 53% of their total offense came on the ground. The Bills were in the middle of the pack in rushing defense, allowing an average of 119.6 yards per game, but have allowed less than 100 yards in four of their last seven games.
One-dimensional?: That was the goal for the Bills against the Colts – stop rookie running back Jonathan Taylor and make Philip Rivers beat them. Rivers became only the eighth quarterback in playoff history to throw for more than 300 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions and lose. The Bills limited Taylor to 78 yards on 21 carries, and 20 of those yards came on one carry. The Bills won’t have that luxury with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. In Sunday’s wild-card win against the Titans, Jackson was 17 for 24 for 179 yards and an interception through the air and ran for 136 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. His TD run for 48 yards was the longest by a quarterback in playoff history. In the regular season, Jackson ran for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns on 176 carries. His rushing production would have ranked 28th among running backs on the season.
Josh vs. Lamar: The Bills’ Josh Allen became the first of the quarterbacks drafted in 2018 to win a playoff game, with Saturday’s victory against the Colts. Lamar Jackson became the second on Sunday afternoon, getting his first playoff victory after consecutive losses. Allen and Jackson made their NFL debuts in the same game. Allen came in at halftime of the 2018 season opener for Nathan Peterman with the Bills trailing 26-0. Jackson entered the game late in the second half in mopup duty in the Ravens’ 47-3 victory. In their only real head-to-head meeting – a Ravens’ 24-17 win in Week 14 last year – Jackson was 16-for-25 for 145 yards with three touchdowns and an interception and ran 11 times for 40 yards. Allen was 17 for 39 for 146 yards with an interception and was sacked six times. He ran twice for 9 yards.
Power points: The Ravens were second in the league in points allowed at 18.9 per game. Only the Rams (at 18.5) allowed less. They allowed 329.8 yards per game. The Bills were second in the league in scoring offense at 31.3 points per game, behind only Green Bay (31.8). The Bills set a franchise record for points with 501. Buffalo closed the regular season with a total of 142 points in its final three games, shattering the previous team record of 117 points in a three-game stretch.
Kicker contest: Tyler Bass continues to show the Bills made the right choice to go with the rookie kicker, as he has not missed a field goal since Week 9, and crushed a key 54-yarder Saturday. Baltimore’s Justin Tucker is a four-time All-Pro who will be playing in his 10th career postseason game. He is 13 for 15 in the playoffs, including a miss Sunday against Tennessee. He was 12 for 14 in the regular season from longer than 40 yards.
The history: The Bills are in the divisional round for the first time since the 1995 playoffs. Buffalo is 5-5 overall in NFL divisional round. The Ravens are in the divisional round for the second consecutive year. They lost to Tennessee 28-12 last season after getting a first-round bye. Before Sunday’s win, the Ravens had lost their last three playoff games, with their most recent win coming in the 2014 playoffs against Pittsburgh. Baltimore is 4-6 in the divisional round. The teams have never met in the postseason.