Analysis

Bills-Ravens Week 4 Scouting Report: Grades and Key Matchups

The Scouting Report for Sunday’s Bills-Ravens game is produced by The 33rd Team’s Scouting Department, which is led by former Eagles, Cardinals and Ravens personnel executive T.J. McCreight and assisted by scouts Justin Casey, Kevin Cohn and Evan Pritt.

Key Matchups

Bills QB Josh Allen vs. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

  • Two of the top early season MVP candidates who can beat you with their arms or legs.
  • Jackson is first in QB rating and TD passes and No. 5 in rushing yards through three games. He is first in QB rating vs. 5-plus rushers at 156.4 with 6 touchdowns. 
  • Allen ranks first in passing yards, second in passing TDs and fourth in QB rating. Allen is No. 4 in QB ratings vs. 5-plus rushers at 143.8 with 4 TDs and no picks.
  • Allen reacted like he lost a playoff game last week. He has set a standard for not only his play but the team this season. We expect him to bounce back in a big way against a Baltimore defense that lacks playmakers and has given up big plays this season. The Ravens defense has given up more 20-plus-yard completions than any other defense in the league. 
  • Allen is operating with great timing and accuracy with all of his targets, and he has been especially in sync with Stefon Diggs.
  • Jackson has been outstanding overall this season, but his greatest success has been against pressure and man coverage. The Bills defense is better equipped than most to defend him as they only blitz 5% of the snaps and they play man coverage only 8.2% of the time. The Jets have been the most successful defending Jackson and they deployed man coverage fewer than 20% of the time compared to more than 50% for the Dolphins and Patriots. When Jackson has to wait to deliver and sift through more bodies in zone coverage, his mechanics get sloppy, which can lead to some accuracy issues.
  • The horizontal stress the Ravens’ QB run game puts on a defense and Jackson’s ability to escape and make throws on the move is so difficult to prepare for. That threat is a deterrent to rushers getting caught too far up field and allows Jackson more time in the pocket.

 

Ravens TE Mark Andrews vs. Bills LBs Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds

  • Even with the emergence of WR Rashod Bateman as a legitimate outside threat for Jackson, Andrews has still been his most targeted pass-catcher with 31 compared to 16 for Bateman.
  • In their 2020 divisional-round playoff game, Andrews had just 4 receptions for 28 yards.
  • Andrews is a smooth route-runner with good acceleration for his size. He uses his body well to present a friendly target for Jackson. He has good hands away from his frame, but he is not a dynamic highpoint, dunk-on-you type of catcher. He is athletic enough to find targets and get in the way as a blocker, but he does not want to get his hands dirty. He is a liability when called upon to block inside the box.
  • Milano and Edmunds both have the size and movement skills to match up with pass-catching tight ends in space. 

Bills O-Line vs. Ravens’ Defensive Front

  • The Ravens only blitz around 15% of the time, but they get creative from where they send their four rushers. They don’t have the players in the front who can win one-on-one matchups, so they rarely affect the quarterback. 
  • The Bills’ OL is the weak spot of their offense. Outside of LT Dion Dawkins and OC Mitch Morse, they are very average. Morse is banged up right now. LG Rodger Saffold is not the same player he once was. RG Ryan Bates is a limited athlete. RT Spencer Brown shows good strength and above-average foot quickness in pass pro, but has limited flex and struggles to generate push in the run game. As a group, the Bills’ O-line lacks lateral agility to adjust to games and stunts, which they might see quite a bit from the Ravens’ front.

 

Bills’ Keys to Victory

  • The Bills must keep Jackson in front of them and play with discipline in the secondary, so the dynamic QB doesn’t get any big plays off of blown assignments. 
  • Don’t put it all on Allen. 

Ravens’ Keys to Victory

  • Make Allen uncomfortable in the pocket and disrupt his rhythm, which is something the Ravens have not been able to do to opposing QBs this season.
  • Bateman needs to continue to show that Jackson can rely on him in big games.

WATCH MORE: Is This the Week to Fade Lamar Jackson?

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