The Buffalo Bills have not looked sharp this preseason, but perhaps things will change Saturday night when the starters should play at least a half as the Bills make their first preseason trip to Baltimore since 2003.
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens
Point spread: Ravens -3
Date: Saturday, Aug. 26, 7 p.m. ET
Location:M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
Harbaugh’s The Man When It Doesn’t Count
If you aren’t betting on John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens team in the preseason since he took over as head coach in 2008, you simply aren’t paying attention. Including this year, Harbaugh is an outstanding 26-12 in exhibition games. Baltimore was unbeaten last year in the preseason and is halfway to 4-0 in 2017. Things aren’t going so swimmingly for Buffalo as its new head coach, Sean McDermott, looks for win No. 1.
Betting and Point Spread Analysis
These clubs opened the 2016 regular season against one another in Baltimore and the Ravens won 13-7. Their defense dominated in holding Buffalo to just 160 total yards. Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor, a former Ravens backup QB, had only 111 yards through the air. Joe Flacco threw for 258 yards and a touchdown to Mike Wallace for Baltimore. It was the team’s first season-opening victory since 2012. The Bills are 1-5 ATS in their past six games. The home team is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings.
Would McDermott, the former Carolina defensive coordinator, have taken the Buffalo head coaching job this offseason knowing what he knows now? The Bills already have traded away arguably their most talented offensive player in WR Sammy Watkins as well as starting cornerback Ronald Darby. It’s almost as if Buffalo is waiving the white flag on 2017 and looking toward the 2018 draft. The Bills signed veteran Anquan Boldin to help replace Watkins, but then Boldin up and retired Sunday. He did so to do humanitarian work, but many believe Boldin wanted no part of this sinking ship.
The Bills are 0-2 in the preseason and Taylor has looked inept. In last week’s loss at Philadelphia, Taylor was 8 of 18 passing for 53 yards, two interceptions, two sacks and a 12.0 quarterback rating. McDermott felt compelled to give Taylor a vote of confidence, but already some fans are calling for rookie backup Nathan Peterman to start. He completed 10 of 20 passes for 167 yards against the Eagles.
Baltimore has its own quarterback problems as Joe Flacco remains sidelined with a back injury suffered while lifting weights – he hasn’t been able to even practice in camp. The Ravens say Flacco will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. Perhaps no team has had worse personnel news in recent weeks than Baltimore in losing the likes of running back Kenneth Dixon, cornerback Tavon Young, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Darren Waller, and offensive linemen Alex Lewis, John Urschel and Nico Siragusa to injury/suspension/release/retirement.
Baltimore is 2-0 this preseason with blowout wins vs. Washington and at Miami. Backup QB Ryan Mallett has been so-so. A guy who has opened eyes is rookie QB Josh Woodrum out of little Liberty. He threw for 110 yards and ran for two scores vs. the Dolphins.
Bills at Ravens Prediction