While the Ravens are heavily favored to win their home opener against the Bills, the Baltimore Beatdown staff has some unconventional thoughts about how players will perform and how story of the game will take form.
- Tavon Young secures a pair of interceptions.
Assuming the Ravens secure an early lead, a turnover prone Nathan Peterman will be forced to play catch up. With the Ravens pass-rush bearing down, he will target his slot receiver, which will play into Young’s hands perfectly, who is primed for a huge season.
- Joe Flacco passes for less than 200 yards.
Buffalo’s strength is their secondary, and Joe Flacco will be under pressure if the Ravens start James Hurst at right tackle and Matt Skura at center. Furthermore, the first team offense only played a handful of drives together in the preseason. Those hoping for an offensive breakout will be disappointed in Week 1.
- Justin Tucker knocks four field goals through.
Alex Collins will find some running room, but rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds’ speed will eliminate the possibility of a long scoring run. As the field shrinks, the Ravens offense will continue their recent trend of settling for field goals. Justin Tucker starts the season a perfect 4/4.
- The Ravens defense records six sacks and four turnovers.
The Bill’s offensive line is a mess, and Baltimore’s pass-rush will have no problem getting to the backfield. Terrell Suggs, Matthew Judon and Za’Darius Smith will make life a living hell for quarterback Nathan Peterman, who will make several errant throws, resulting in interceptions. Expect Suggs to come away with his notorious strip sack as well.
- Peterman is benched in favor of Josh Allen.
After turning the ball over several times, Buffalo will opt to see their rookie quarterback play. Last year, the Texans inserted Deshaun Watson halfway through their first game after a terrible performance from Tom Savage, and the Bills will follow suit in Week 1 of 2018.
- Orlando Brown Jr. ends the game as the starting right tackle.
James Hurst is currently the starter at right tackle, but that could change before the end of this game. If Hurst struggles, look for Brown to replace him. If Matt Skura struggles at center like he has all preseason, then Alex Lewis would likely move from left guard to center, Hurst would move to left guard and Brown would then step in at the right tackle.
- Joe Flacco catches a touchdown pass...from Lamar Jackson.
There have been talks about potential “two-quarterback” plays in the training camp, but Flacco and Jackson were never on the field together during the preseason. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg surely has some tricks plays up his sleeve, and he will pull one out in Week 1. Lamar Jackson’s first career regular season touchdown pass will go to Joe Flacco.
- Janarion Grant scores on a special teams return.
Undrafted rookie receiver Janarion Grant showed enough flashes in the preseason to secure a roster spot. Grant will begin the year as the primary return man on special teams, and he could catch the Bills by surprise. Grant is speedy and elusive, making a kickoff or punt return to the house on Sunday a likely prospect.
- Tim Williams records three or more sacks.
Williams had a breakout preseason performance, which will continue in Week 1. With all the attention on Suggs and Judon, Williams will make the most of his snaps. The Bills suspect offensive line will struggle to contain Williams coming off the edge, and he will bring Nathan Peterman down multiple times.
- Someone not named Michael Crabtree leads Baltimore in receptions.
In need of offensive weapons, the Ravens transformed their receiver corps this offseason. While Pro Football Focus ranks the improved unit just 23rd in the league, Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown are all considered massive upgrades for Flacco. The Bills will be keyed in on Crabtree as the number one wide receiver, opening up opportunities for Snead and Brown. Some fantasy football owners may be disappointed when Snead, Brown or even a tight end surpasses Crabtree for receptions in this contest.
- LeSean McCoy rushes for less than 100 yards.
Baltimore’s run defense struggled in 2017; however, the return of a healthy Brandon Williams should be a huge win for the defensive line, upgrading the Ravens run stopping abilities. Coming off a tumultuous offseason clouded with personal issues, expect a down game from McCoy. With Buffalo starting an unreliable quarterback, Baltimore knows that the Bills will look to the run game for easy offense and have hopefully game planned accordingly.
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