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Facing the Enemy Week 7: Ravens vs Bills

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This marks 4 straight weeks where opposing team’s bloggers have chosen to go with the Ravens to win the game.

The (4-2) Baltimore Ravens come back from a tough loss to return home and face the (0-5) Buffalo Bills. Of course the Bills don’t want to advance 0-6, but I think last week left a bad taste in the mouth of Ray Lewis and his team. It’s no shock as to why Paul Miller of the BuffaLowdown, this week’s “Facing the Enemy” blogger, has sided with us to see a Ravens victory this Sunday. Check out his answers to my questions (he reveals a nice fantasy sleeper option):

1. At 0-5, do you think the season is over for the Bills?

In a 16 game season, it’s tough to admit that the season is over for the 0-5 Buffalo Bills.  Let’s not forget that at the end of the day, NFL players are paid professionals, so if Ravens fans think that the Bills are just going to show up on Sunday and not compete, you have another thing coming.

I will be realistic and say that playoffs are absolutely out of the question for this team. And barring an upset, I can’t see the Bills winning until Week 10 when the Lions come to Buffalo (and that won’t even be easy).  But even if the Bills go 0-16, there are players fighting for their jobs and trying to earn a spot on the roster for seasons to come.  Chan Gaily and Buddy Nix have displayed zero tolerance for underperforming players, as we have seen with Trent Edwards and Marshawn Lynch, so players know that they won’t hesitate to cut anyone.

2. Buffalo is ranked dead last in rush defense, how can they stop a 3-headed rushing attack led by Ray Rice?

It seems like lately the Ravens attack has soley been a one man job with Ray Rice getting 25+ carries over the past two games, which is great for my fantasy team, but seems like it’s taking a toll on Rice. A report of an ankle injury has turned up today, as well as reports that the Ravens plan to use McGahee more for the upcoming weeks, after he received 0 attempts in the loss to New England.

As far as the Bills stopping the Ravens rushing attack as a whole, defensive coordinator George Edwards has slowly been stepping away from the 3-4 defense, and has been loading the line with a 4-3 anchored by Marcus Stroud, Kyle Williams and former Ravens Dwan Edwards.  Hopefully this new scheme will be able to slow down the Ravens and their very talented backs.

3. Who is one underrated Bills players that Ravens fans should look out for?

Although he is slowly making noise in the fantasy world, many fans outside of Buffalo aren’t able to name any of the Bills receivers outside of Lee Evans, and perhaps Roscoe Parrish.  But a player Ravens fans should look out for is WR Steve Johnson.  Johnson was a 7th round draft pick by the Bills in the 2008 NFL draft, and hasn’t received much playing time until this season.

Johnson is slowly becoming Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite red zone option and has scored 4 TDs over the past 3 games.  Look for the Bills to try and take advantage of all the attention Lee Evans requires to try and continue to find Johnson out in the open.

4. How can the Bills offense score points on a stingy Ravens defense that might have Pro Bowl Safety Ed Reed returning for this game?

The Buffalo Bills had an extra week to try and come up with a plan on how to score on this great Ravens defense, and I think the plan should be simple:  with Fred Jackson and C.J Spiller in the backfield, they need to run the ball early and often to try and wear down the defense. Even if the run is unsuccessful at first, they must show the Ravens that they are committed to the run, which hopefully opens up some shots down the field later in the game.

5. Game predictions?

Although I love the Buffalo Bills, and every week I think they might win, I can’t see them pulling off the upset on the road against a very good Ravens team. Final Score: Ravens 31 Bills 17

You can see my answers to some of Paul’s questions here.