Just like that, the Ravens have their first playoff victory with Lamar Jackson at quarterback. With yet another rocky start against the Titans, Baltimore rebounded with 17 unanswered points after going down 10-0. Besides an uncharacteristic interception by Jackson in the first quarter, the reigning MVP played like himself with dazzling runs and clutch throws. Late in the second quarter, Jackson escaped the pocket for an electric 48-yard touchdown run to tie the game 10-10. It was arguably one of Lamar’s best runs of his career, and it came at just the right time. Once the Ravens took the lead they held onto it, with the final score coming to 20-13. Marcus Peters had a game-sealing interception as the Titans attempted to drive down the field for a touchdown, and proceeded to lead a defensive celebration on the Titans logo at midfield. The Ravens earned their revenge against the team that had disrespected them earlier in the season.
The divisional round of the playoffs brings Baltimore to Buffalo, led by red-hot quarterback Josh Allen. The Bills and their die-hard fans known as “Bills Mafia” have made NFL headlines throughout this season, cruising by opponents with ease and beating tougher teams when they’ve needed to. Buffalo won the AFC East title at 13-3, and took care of business against a tough Indianapolis Colts team this past Saturday. Baltimore will see a different looking offense than last Sunday, as Buffalo has a stellar passing attack paired with a poor ground game. Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs is playing at an elite level, closing the 2020 regular season as the NFL’s leading receiver. Ravens cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters will have their hands full with Diggs and company. Buffalo’s quarterback Josh Allen has won the hearts of the Bills Mafia, as well as NFL critics and analysts. Allen is known for his rocket of an arm, but has also shown the ability to escape the pocket and make plays with his legs. At 6 foot 5 and 238 pounds, Allen has impressive speed and often bulldozes over defenders. If Baltimore holds up Allen like they did Derrick Henry on Sunday, they’ll be one step closer to the AFC championship.
Baltimore’s offense may have the weather in their favor, as snow is expected during the Saturday night showdown in Orchard Park. Wet, slippery conditions usually favor a team with a solid ground game. Heavier passing attacks like Buffalo’s can be challenged moving the ball through snow and wind. Jackson, Dobbins, and Edwards will aim to feast on a tough Bills defense with or without a winter wonderland. Dobbins and Edwards have sealed themselves as a consistent one-two-punch, both bringing unique combinations of speed and power. Receiver Marquise Brown shined on the Sunday playoff stage, posting seven receptions for 109 yards. If the Baltimore playmakers continue their hot streaks, even a stout Bills defense will have a hard time stopping everyone. Baltimore versus Buffalo is an excellent matchup and should make for a memorable playoff battle. Final score prediction: 31-30 Ravens.