The 2-1 Baltimore Ravens head to Buffalo to face the 1-2 Bills on Sunday. This is an interesting match-up since the Bills use the read-option offense; it presents a new set of challenges for the Ravens.
The Ravens faced the read-option twice last season; first they lost to the Washington Redskins and then beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
After that, the Ravens studied the read-option; linebacker Terrell Suggs believes they are ready for the challenge:
“If you’re a football player, you don’t want the same thing every week. We love that we get the opportunity again to play against one of these up-and-coming, rising quarterbacks – dual threat like E. J. Manuel. It’s going to be a challenge.”
While the Bills aren’t known for having an explosive offense, rookie quarterback EJ Manual and running back C.J. Spiller are capable of making big plays. This season Manual rushed 13 times for a gain of 76 yards.
Some of the Bills top defensive players are injured including starting safety Jarius Brooks and cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gimore. Can the Ravens offense take advantage of the wounded defensive line and make big plays?
Ravens running back Ray Rice is questionable. He suffered a hip injury in week two and was limited in practice this week. Wide receiver Deonte Thompson is questionable. He suffered a foot injury in the preseason opener and could return this week. Jacoby Jones is ruled out with a knee injury in week one.
The Ravens are favored to win, but this is the National Football League and nothing is guaranteed so the Ravens must be prepared. I hope the defense continues to shine and successfully stops the Bills read-option offense.
As for the Ravens offense… I hope quarterback Joe Flacco starts connecting with his receivers and wide receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Dallas Clark to step it up this week.
However, much as I’d like the Ravens offense to explode, I don’t see it happening in Buffalo. Road games are always challenging, I only hope the Ravens are able to pull off the win.