This Sunday the Baltimore Ravens will host the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 action. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 EST at M&T Bank Stadium and will be televised locally on CBS. Oddsmakers have the Ravens listed as a 3-point home favorite with the total set at 44.5 points.
Bills vs Ravens Point Spread Preview
Buffalo is coming off a disappointing 8-8 campaign in the first year under Rex Ryan. On the bright side, the Bills believe they have found the answer at quarterback. Tyrod Taylor came out of nowhere to put together a great first season as a starter. With an even stronger roster going into 2016, Buffalo is a popular pick to surprise in the AFC.
The Ravens are coming off their worst season under head coach John Harbaugh. Their 5-11 record was the first time under Harbaugh that they hadn’t gone at least 8-8. Injuries to key players definitely played a part in that. Baltimore hasn’t gone back-to-back seasons without a playoff appearance since doing so in 2004-05. They have a shot to bounce back, but the AFC North is loaded at the top.
Vegas Free Pick & Predictions: Ravens -3
I have to lean with Baltimore laying just a field goal at home in Week 1. The Ravens might be the most underrated team in the league going into the season. All you have to do is look at the bad luck they had with injuries in 2015 and their past success under Harbaugh.
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As bad as this team was last year, they still ranked in top half of the league in total offense and defense. I’m expecting a big bounce back year from quarterback Joe Flacco, who is fully healed from his torn ACL. The Ravens not only improved the offensive line in front of him, but he’s got more weapons at his disposal.
Defensively this team has routinely ranked near the top of the league. I expect a return to form with Terrell Suggs back healthy. Keep in mind that Suggs was lost for the season in the opener last year. He’s the heart and soul of that defense and having him on the field makes everyone around him better.
While I think the Bills could be a serious playoff contender, they are missing some key pieces to start out. Star defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is suspended the first four games. Their two promising rookies, Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland are both out with injuries.
Keep in mind that the Bills defense didn’t perform as expected last year. Most had them pegged as a Top 10 defense. They ended up finishing 19th in yards allowed (356.4 ypg) and 15th in scoring (22.4 ppg). The most staggering thing was their inability to get to the quarterback. Buffalo totaled just 21 sacks (31st) after leading the league the previous year with 54.
Buffalo also wasn’t a great road team last year, going just 3-5 away from home. They lost at Jacksonville and only beat Tennessee by one. When right the Ravens are extremely difficult to beat at home and we are getting some value here based on how they finished last year.