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View from Vegas: Road playoff wins have paved Ravens' road to success

View from Vegas: Road playoff wins have paved Ravens' road to success

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) celebrates after scoring a touchdown on a 48-yard run against the Tennessee Titans in the NFL wild-card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn.

Like Browns fans, the Buffalo faithful rejoiced as their team won their first playoff game since 1995 in last week’s close call against the Colts.

However, there is a lot to like about Baltimore these days. For openers, they became the first team to lead the NFL in point differential in consecutive seasons. The Ravens have held last their three foes to 228 yards per game, including season-low 209 to the Titans last week. In addition, the Black Birds traveled the fewest miles of all teams this season (6,420), affording them fresh legs for this season-ending push.

More impressive, Baltimore is averaging 262 rushing yards per contest in the last six games, topping 230 in five of those games. That’s the most in a six-game span since the 1949 Eagles, who averaged 267 rushing yards and won the NFL championship.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is 20-10 straight up and 20-7-2 against the spread versus the AFC East, including 11-6 SU and 13-2-2 against those with a winning record. Harbaugh’s eight playoff road wins are the most in league history.

That’s not to take anything away from Bills, who are 10-2 straight up and 9-3 against the spread under Sean McDermott in games with the better record against foes coming off a win. They also enter on an impressive 8-1 run straight up and against the spread. The key will be keeping this a one-score contest, as the Bills are 5-1 this season after going 4-6 in such games last season.

However, we can’t overlook Baltimore’s 11-6 straight up and 13-4 against the spread record in playoff road games since 2001 – the best in the league – including 9-0 against the spread when not coming off a win of 17 or more points.     

Prediction: Ravens over Bills by 6.

Marc Lawrence previews the NFL from a Vegas perspective. You can follow him online at Playbook.com or @MarcLawrence.

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