NFL playoffs: 5 things Buffalo Bills fans should know about the Baltimore Ravens
Buffalo's next playoff opponent is set.
The second-seeded Bills will host No. 5 Baltimore Ravens in an AFC Divisional round playoff game at 8:15 p.m. Saturday in Orchard Park.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson (12-5) has guided his Ravens to six straight wins, while Josh Allen has quarterbacked the Bills (14-3) to 10 wins over their last 11 games.
Here's what you need to know about Baltimore:
1. Lamar Jackson silenced the doubters
Criticism of the third-year quarterback's 0-2 playoff record entering Sunday may have been a bit premature.
Jackson, last year's NFL MVP, helped his Ravens avenge recent losses to Tennessee — including a 28-12 setback in last year's divisional round — with a 20-13 win in a wild card road game.
Sure, Jackson only threw for 179 yards, but the 1,000-yard rusher rushed for 136 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown run.
Oh, and Jackson entered Sunday 0-6 as a starter when his team fell behind 10 points in a regular season or playoffs. After Tennessee led 10-0, Baltimore rattled off 17 straight points.
2. The Baltimore's 'souljas' have helped offense click
Receiver Marquise Brown voiced his frustrations back in November.
“What’s the point of having souljas when you never use them (Never!!)," he said in a since deleted tweet.
Not long after that, the offense truly began to click.
Not only has Brown topped 100 yards in his two playoff appearances — seven receptions for 109 yards Sunday — he also scored six touchdowns over the final six regular season games.
Mark Andrews' best games came between Week 10 and Week 16, hauling in 402 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins — whose Ohio State Buckeyes play Alabama in the national championship game Monday night — has emerged as the lead back, rushing for 495 yards at 6.43 yards per carry and seven touchdowns over the last six weeks of the regular season. Dobbins added 43 yards and a touchdown Sunday.
3. Stars in all three phases
The Ravens have Pro Bowlers on offense, defense and special teams.
Defensively, tackle Calais Campbell, outside linebacker Matt Judon and cornerback Marlon Humphrey gives Baltimore a stud defender on each level, limiting Tennessee's 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry to 40 yards.
Offensively, fullback Patrick Ricard and offensive tackle Orlando Brown made the Pro Bowl for leading a potent rushing attack
Kicker Justin Tucker and long snapper Morgan Cox are not only Baltimore's Pro Bowl special team selections, they are also the team's only All-Pro picks.
4. Ravens 'O' not perfect
Buffalo's defense may have chances at big plays. Jackson was sacked five times and threw an interception on a poorly thrown ball against Tennessee. That could bode well for the Bills' in terms of field position.
Over the regular season and playoffs, Jackson has 10 interceptions and 10 fumbles. Bills defenders like Tremaine Edmunds and Tre'Davious White should be ready to pounce on any given opportunities.
5. Harbaugh has lots of playoff experience
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh won his first playoff game since 2014 Sunday, but his postseason experience is extensive.
Harbaugh is 11-7 in the playoffs, winning at least one playoff game in seven of his nine postseason appearances. In 2012, he beat his brother, current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, in Super Bowl XLVII.
Since drafting Jackson, John Harbaugh's Ravens are 2-0 against Buffalo.
Marquel Slaughter is a sports reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle. For unlimited access to his stories, please subscribe at the top of the democratandchronicle.com homepage or activate your digital account today. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.