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Ravens Vs. Bills: 5 Matchups to Watch

September 07, 2018 - 10:23 am

By Joe Schiller

C.J. Mosley vs. Charles Clay

The Bills’ offensive weapons aren’t much to boast about besides running back Le’Sean McCoy. Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, and Jeremy Kerley compare to a struggling receiving core the Ravens dealt with last season but tight end Charles Clay will be a player the defense should key on.

Clay has received at least 70 targets and amassed over 500 yards in the last five seasons. The Ravens had sporadic success covering tight ends last season and did give up multi-touchdown games three times. Clay will act as a security blanket for Nathan Peterman in the short game and C.J. Mosley will be tasked with keeping the ball out of his hands.

If the Ravens can keep Clay quiet, that should lead to success in the pass defense department.


Michael Crabtree vs. Tre’Davious White

On the flip side, Michael Crabtree is slated to be one of Joe Flacco’s top targets this season and finds himself in a tough matchup against second-year cornerback Tre’Davious White. The former first-round pick had a breakout rookie campaign with four interceptions last season and was a thorn in the side of many opposing receivers.

Crabtree holds the height advantage (6-1 vs. 5-11), something he and Flacco should use to their advantage in jump balls and back-shoulder throws. Positioning will be key for Crabtree and the Ravens’ receiving core has much to prove with a number of new additions after struggling for much of the 2017 season.


Matt Skura vs. Bills’ Interior D-Line

All indications point to Matt Skura as the Week 1 starter and I believe the Ravens will find that replacing Ryan Jensen won’t be a simple process. It’s going to have growing pains and Skura was inconsistent throughout the preseason. And while the Bills don’t have pristine pass-rush talent, their interior defensive line is strong with veteran Kyle Williams and new addition, Star Lotulelei.

Anchoring the center position is extremely important in keeping Joe Flacco upright and producing rushing lanes for Alex Collins. To Skura’s advantage, he has the benefit of Alex Lewis and Marshal Yanda on his sides but any one-on-one matchups will be interesting to watch.

Pass Rush vs. Jordan Mills

Pass rush is undoubtedly one of the Ravens’ strengths heading into the season, led by Terrell Suggs and Matt Judon, along with some young talent. It’s a unit that can take advantage Bills’ right tackle, Jordan Mills. He finished with a below-average, 62.1 rating at the position last season, per Pro Football Focus.

A strong pass rush keeps Nathan Peterman on his heels, forcing bad decisions, eventually leading to turnovers. Defensively, the Ravens have one of the best matchups in Week 1 and an offensive line without center Eric Wood and guard Richie Incognito is why.


Ravens’ Secondary vs. Nathan Peterman

The matchup that many will want to watch – Peterman vs. the league-leading takeaway defense from last season that returns all of its starters minus cornerback Jimmy Smith due to suspension. Peterman may better than his horrid five-interception debut but it’s an indication of a turnover-prone quarterback.

Even without Smith, the Ravens have a ton of depth at cornerback along with Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson at safety. This is a defense that nabbed five turnovers Week 1 against the Bengals last season and there’s every indication to believe they could do the same on Sunday.


Follow Joe Schiller on Twitter: @JoeSchiller123

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